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Young Sudbury woman has trouble following court orders

Sudbury Star

(File photo)

On Oct. 5, Paige St. Jean received a 60-day weekend jail sentence for assault, failing to attend court and breach of bail convictions.

But just three days after receiving her sentence, St. Jean shoplifted three energy drinks worth $9 at the Kathleen Street Jem Mart store.

To make matters worse, St. Jean did not show up at the Sudbury Jail as scheduled on two weekends – Nov. 30 and Dec. 14.

In Sudbury court, St. Jean, 19, who had been in custody since she turned herself in Jan. 1, pleaded guilty to theft under $5,000, breach of probation, and two counts of being unlawfully at large.

With St. Jean having spent 28 days in custody, 21 of them went toward completing the intermittent sentence, which had been converted to straight time. That left seven days to go toward pre-trial custody consideration, the figure becoming a credit of 11 days.

The Crown wanted a new sentence of 30 more days’ jail, minus pre-trial custody credit.

Justice Andrew Buttazzoni sided with defence lawyer Denis Michel, who asked for St. Jean’s release as she is now working with organizations in the community to better herself. But Buttazzoni also ordered St. Jean to perform 60 hours of community service.

“There is an underlying theme of court orders don’t mean anything,” Buttazzoni told St. Jean after looking at her criminal record. “At this point, rehabilitation is important. I’d rather impose a sentence that helps you rather than puts you into custody for another 30-40-60 days “¦

“If you don’t complete the terms of community service, you will be looking at jail. Work with the probation officer. Do something positive and get your life moving in the right direction.”

Buttazzoni issued a suspended sentence, which takes into account the 11 days of pre-trial custody credit, an 18-month probation order that includes the 60 hours of community service and a condition that St. Jean take recommended assessment and counselling for substance abuse, and a DNA order.

“She has basically been on her own since the age of 16 years,” Michel had told Buttazzoni in his sentencing submissions a short time earlier, adding that St. Jean has been in foster care and also began drimking at a young age. “She had been living on the streets.”

St. Jean, noted Michel, is now dealing with the Elizabeth Fry Society, looking to upgrade her education, attending both Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, is dealing with a Homeless Network program and plans on taking an out-of-town rehabilitation program.

Michel said St. Jean knew she was in trouble for the Jem Mart theft and not attending the Sudbury Jail on two occasions, and “that’s why she did that (turn herself in) on Jan. 1.”

Michel said St. Jean now has support programs and people she can access and “she has a plan” which includes not consuming alcohol.

“She thinks she can do it,” said the lawyer.

Assistant Crown attorney Kevin Ludgate said St. Jean had no regard for the intermittent sentence order she was given in October.

“They are put in place with the expectation the offender will be able to carry on with their lives for an intermittent period and serve a jail sentence that is imposed on them, show up when required,” he said. “She goes in the Jem Mart three days after (sentencing) and steals.”

Ludgate added that in St. Jean’s brief adult record, there are a large number of breaches of court orders and the latest breaches – not showing up for weekend jail when required – call for more jail, not a release from custody.

“What type of message (no jail) going to send this young lady if she is released from custody at this point in her life by acting very poorly during the 60-day time frame she was supposed to serve her intermittent sentence?” he asked.

Ludgate said an additional 30 days in jail “would go a long way to educating Miss St. Jean and I think we should impose this today.”

As a result of the three guilty pleas, the Crown dropped six other charges St. Jean was facing.

Twitter: @HaroldCarmichae

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