Crockwell sentenced to four years in prison for armed standoff

Daniel
Daniel MacEachern
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Leo Crockwell is led from court following his sentencing

In sentencing Leo Crockwell to four years for an armed standoff in which shots were fired at police, Justice Richard LeBlanc said two “poignant moments” during the trial stuck out for him.

One was the testimony of Crockwell’s mother, and her concern for her son’s mental well-being. “She obviously loves you and cares for you,” said LeBlanc.

The other, said LeBlanc, was the testimony of police officers who were shot at when they tried to enter the house during a six-day barricade in December 2010 — people, pointed out the judge in Supreme Court Friday afternoon, who could have been seriously harmed by Leo Crockwell’s actions.

“But for the grace of God, Mr. Crockwell,” said LeBlanc. “But for the grace of God.”

In his ruling, LeBlanc spoke of the difficulties of coming to an appropriate sentence, weighing the seriousness of the several charges — including assault with a weapon and carelessly using a firearm — against mandatory minimum sentencing as well as mitigating factors such as Crockwell’s mental state and the damage done to Crockwell’s home. LeBlanc called Crockwell’s mental impairment “quite obvious.” Crockwell has not acknowledged any mental health problems, but says he is the victim of a police conspiracy and has not shown any remorse for — or even any understanding of the consequences of — his actions. LeBlanc said Crockwell is in denial about his own mental health.

LeBlanc determined a sentence of five years, nine months and one day — four for discharging the firearm at police, one year for the use of a firearm in an offence, nine months for the assault on his sister and one day for firing his gun into the wall of his house before the standoff began — to be too much. Instead, he decided four years was a more appropriate punishment, followed by three years of probation. With credit given for the more than two years Crockwell has spent in custody since the standoff, he has 21 months and 25 days left to serve.

“I can only hope you get something out of this process, and that you understand just how serious your behaviour is, and how much trouble you’ve caused for a lot of people,” LeBlanc said. “You need help, and I hope you get it,” he added, before Crockwell was handcuffed and led out of the courtroom. Crockwell didn’t respond to reporters who asked if he planned to appeal.

After the sentencing, Crockwell’s brother Bill Crockwell said he’s glad the sentence allows Leo to serve his time within the province and close to family support. He said the judge’s comments about his brother’s mental health show that it’s difficult for the justice system to help people with mental health problems.

“You’re getting a personal opinion here, and the sad part is, with all the power of the court, they can’t — people who have health issues, it’s hard for the court to address taking care of them,” he said. “They try to make these compliance orders to some extent, but it seems like there must be a better way or some other way where they can be helped before they get to that point.”

dmaceachern@thetelegram.com

 Twitter: @TelegramDaniel

Organizations: Supreme Court

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  • Kevin
    February 17, 2013 - 08:48

    You are right. It is a joke. WE HAVE NO JUSTICE SYTEM..............AT ALL. And the so called judges that make those decisions have no intelligence at all. A rapist or indivual that sexually abused a CHILD gets a slap on the hand and a guy who baracades himself in his own home gets 4 years...........THIS IS BE A BEYOND A JOKE BUT SO IS OUR ENTIRE JUSTICE AND GOVERNMENT SYSTEM !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Courtwatch
    February 16, 2013 - 09:27

    The judge says he hopes Crockwell gets something out of this process. I would take that to mean "don't f--- with the police, courts, and justice system" . His brother Bill is diplimatic when he says the courts can do little for people with mental illness. Crocker has had his house destroyed. The lawyers have wiped out his sayings, some 30,000.00? while doing did nothing for him, and won't refund his money.The justice system has locked him up for 2 years and another 2 to go. A application to see if police over reacted was not allowed by the judge until they convicted him. He was not given bail pending conviction, which people charged with murder and child rape often get. I do beleive the judge is right that Crocker has mental health issues. But the state of mind of such individuals are usually negatively affected by high and chronic stress levels. What did this stand off, and time in jail, these repeated court appearances, his loss of house and money, and now further jailtime to do lighten his mental health burden? Who is the judge trying to fool to suggest that these events in Crockers life should have a positive impact for him, or teach him a lesson? Would some medical professional comment on this? If crocker needs help for his mental health condition, this process didn't help. Just my opinion. I would add, but for the grace of God, this judge or his family don't have such serious mental conditions. I wouldn't like to see this sort of thing happen to the judge or anyone. I wonder if the judge sought guidance from medical professionals in reaching his decision? No easy job being a judge. Perhaps Crocker denial of a health problem was an issue. And admission of a health problem may have rsulted in a forced stay at a mental health institution? Perhaps Crocker's first illegal forced stay there made him choose jail as a better alternative? I think the police, and judges too, need better training on how to deal with people with mental health issues. but it seems low on the priority list. A neglected area of the Charter of Rights. In other parts of North America isn't there a group ( or a few) lawyers who routinely donate some good work without charge for such causes ? Are we missing this here? Perhaps some lawyer could comment on this? Perhaps some interested professionals can see a way that some good could come from this unfortunate, tragic event.

    • Redgrave
      February 16, 2013 - 13:41

      Courthouse Watch and Anon---Right on!! I can't comment on why the police acted in such a way, or the judges decision. That's their business. However, the state of our prison system's psychiactric care and overall medical care is in absolute shambles. It is a disgrace and the subject of both investigation and supreme court critisism. No one can get respectable psychiactric help inside a Newfoundland jail. Sadest thing is....they couldn't care less, and the one who speak out lose their contracts or risk termination. A google search will tell you everything you need to know about our prison system and it's decayed state. Look up ---Three Decades of Darkness – Moving towards the Light....A must read for every Newfoundlander!!!!!!!!!

  • Anon
    February 16, 2013 - 08:51

    Meanwhile, child rapists are getting half of this sentence. The system is a joke.