Probation ‘exercise in futility’ for accused in sex crimes, court told
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 12/09/2022 (201 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Months before Winnipeg police arrested Miguel Giasson for a string of alleged sex crimes, a court was warned he posed a “well-above average” risk to reoffend and had made no effort to co-operate with probation authorities.
Giasson, 24, was arrested Sept. 7, and charged with breaking into a home and three counts of committing an indecent act, in connection with three separate incidents.
Police said a suspect broke into a Wolseley home July 31, and tried to force himself on one of two women inside. The woman was able to fend off the attacker, who ran away before police arrived.
Law officials said they have linked the suspect to two earlier indecent acts: July 25, in a washroom at Army Navy & Air Force Veterans in Canada branch on Ellice Avenue; and Oct. 25, 2021, in a public laundry room in Osborne Village.
In February, Giasson was sentenced to the equivalent of 105 days served for assaulting a Winnipeg Transit inspector and two counts of failing to comply with a bail order. Court heard Giasson was sleeping on a bus Sept. 16, 2021, when he shoved a responding Transit inspector.
Giasson was released on bail but rearrested in November, after he was found in possession of a knife (a breach of his release conditions) and had failed to report to his probation officer.
Court was told at that hearing Giasson had been sentenced to two years probation following a 2020 conviction for committing an indecent act and was under the supervision of probation services’ adult sex offender unit.
“He was assessed as a very high risk to reoffend generally, and a well-above average risk to offend sexually,” Crown attorney Vuk Mitrovic told provincial court Judge Heather Pullan.
Giasson later served 120 days in custody for “multiple incidents of non-compliance” with his probation order and failing to participate in counselling.
“He really has not done any rehabilitative programming,” Mitrovic said.
“He really has not done any rehabilitative programming.”–Crown attorney Vuk Mitrovic
Court heard Giasson is homeless, likely lives with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, and has a history of substance abuse, most recently involving methamphetamine.
According to a report from his probation officer, Giasson’s “ongoing non-compliance” made it impossible for probation services to manage his risk in the community, Mitrovic said.
“The probation officer actually indicates that they hope the court determines options other than probation supervision… for managing his risk to the community.”
The Crown urged Pullan to consider a term of supervised probation, arguing it was necessary to address resistance to counselling and treatment. Defence lawyer Kaitlynn Porath opposed probation for her client, saying it is to be imposed as a support, not a punishment, and would only serve to “keep him in a cycle of detention.”
In a rare move, Pullan placed a phone call to Giasson’s probation officer, who told court Giasson’s lack of co-operation made probation fruitless.
“The trouble with Miguel is he doesn’t show up for any appointments,” the probation officer said. “If he doesn’t buy in, it’s really an exercise in futility… If we can’t find him and he doesn’t show up… it’s unrealistic for me to say it would work.”
In the end, the judge decided not to impose probation.
Pullan said given Giasson’s substance abuse issues and other challenges, she was satisfied his lack of co-operation with probation services was not a sign he had a “cavalier disregard” for court orders.
Someone once said a journalist is just a reporter in a good suit. Dean Pritchard doesn’t own a good suit. But he knows a good lawsuit.