Welcome to my Crime and Justice blog! I am a 19 year old criminal justice student at the University of Winnipeg. I advocate for prisoners' rights, human rights, equality and criminal justice/prison system reforms.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Court of Appeal rules that arson comment was a threat

WINNIPEG - A Winnipeg man committed a criminal act when he made a remark about burning down the home of a Crown attorney he’d already been convicted of threatening, Manitoba’s highest court has ruled.

Patrick Noble, 29, claims he was unfairly found guilty of harassment last year and should have the case dismissed. But Appeal Court Justice Richard Chartier said Wednesday the trial judge properly applied the law, especially considering Noble never took the stand to offer up any alternative explanation for what he said.

"In the absence of an explanation...it was open to a trial judge to infer from the proven facts that the words uttered by the accused were meant to be taken seriously or to intimidate the complainant," Chartier wrote in the decision.

Noble’s troubles began in March 2007, when he was given five years in prison for armed robbery. He phoned the Crown attorney later in the day, threatened to kill her and told her she had messed with the wrong guy. A few days later Noble, who was in Headingley jail, threatened to kill the prosecutor again during a telephone conversation with his mother.

It was around the same time the prosecutor was victimized in a violent home invasion that shocked the legal community. In a subsequent jailhouse interview with the Free Press, Noble suggested that he might have been involved with the home invasion and that he knew the men who were arrested. However, he was never charged by police.

At his July 2007 sentencing hearing for the phone threats, defence lawyer Mike Cook said the timing of his client’s threat and the home invasion was merely a coincidence. At that time, a contrite Noble told the court he was angry when he made the initial threats and now realized that the prosecutor was just "doing her job." He apologized to her and the court and was given two years in prison.

Defence lawyer Mike Cook said his client was determined to turn his life around and had plans to become a carpenter. But it was just hours later that Noble told a pair of sheriff’s officers, "I guess we know whose house is going to burn down," as he was being escorted from the downtown Law Courts back to Headingley jail.
One of the officers testified Noble also warned them on the way back to jail to "make sure you have a subscription to tomorrow’s newspaper."
Noble later said, "Just kidding" after the arson remark, but officers weren’t laughing.
Noble was convicted of that incident last year and given an additional one year behind bars.
"This was not just an attack on the individual, but an attack on the administration of justice as a whole," said Queen’s Bench Justice Colleen Suche.
Noble was convicted for uttering the arson remark last year and given an additional year behind bars.

I would like to know more about the accused's background and mitigating circumstances of the case. He did make a threat, which definitely poses a danger to the Crown in this case and therefore, prison time was appropriate. 

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