A career Manitoba criminal has been given a rare dangerous offender designation – and the indefinite prison term that comes with it.
Clifford Osborne, 32, hung his head Wednesday after learning he was getting the most serious sanction available under the Criminal Code. There is no expiry to his sentence, and it’s possible Osborne will spend the rest of his days behind bars.
"The criminal record of Mr. Osborne is atrocious," said Queen’s Bench Justice Robert Dewar. Osborne’s convictions include numerous assaults, weapon offences, sex-related crimes and failing to abide by a slew of court orders. He has attacked various people on the streets and while being held in custody, often resulting in serious injuries.
"For the past 14 years, he has spent most of his time incarcerated," said Dewar.
His latest crime, which triggered the Crown application, was a March 2009 attack on a 25-year-old woman. She found Osborne passed out inside her home following a party and ordered him to leave. Osborne responded by violently attacking her. She suffered extensive cuts and bruising throughout her body.
Two parole officers testified at Osborne’s sentencing hearing about the serious risk he continues to pose to the public. Dewar said Wednesday it’s clear that extensive change is required if Osborne is ever going to be released.
"His record, inclusive of the predicate offence, clearly shows a pattern of repetitive behaviour by Mr. Osborne showing a failure to restrain his behaviour," said Dewar. "An objective assessment of this pattern with little tangible evidence that Mr. Osborne has changed, prompts a conclusion that there is a real likelihood of his causing injury to other persons, or inflicting severe psychological damage on other persons, through failure in the future to restrain his behaviour."
Osborne was raised in a tragic environment, court was told. His father was physically abusive to the entire family and drug and alcohol use was rampant. He bounced around various foster homes as a child and was sexually abused in one placement.
Defence lawyer Darren Sawchuk had argued that Osborne’s background didn’t fit the tough criteria needed to sustain the dangerous offender label. He said Osborne should be given a fixed sentence of three years along with strict supervisory conditions to follow.
But Dewar said Osborne’s previous disregard for court-ordered assistance gives him little hope of success.
"A review of his record indicates that probation conditions have meant little to him in the past. Not only has he not respected them, but he has committed serious offences when he was under them," said Dewar. "Furthermore, Mr. Osborne’s record in custody does not instill confidence that he has a willingness or capacity to improve."