UPDATE: Girl, 15, gets nine months open custody for assault on disabled man

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— Justice

A 15-year-old girl who was part of a group of teens that beat up and robbed a disabled man has been sentenced to nine months in open custody, to be followed by 4 1/2 months of supervision in the community, and one year's probation.

The sentence was handed down today in provincial court in St. John’s by Judge Pamela Goulding.

Open custody is similar to house arrest for youths, in which they are in custody at a group home with strict conditions.

The judge was in the middle of rendering her decision when the girl's lawyer, Vanessa McCarthy, spoke up and told Goulding that her client wanted to say something.

Goulding agreed.

"I'd like to apologize to (the victim)," she said, breaking down in tears. "I know it has had an impact on his life. I feel terrible and he did trust me.

"If I could go back in time, I'd change all this. I'm sorry."

As she spoke the girl stopped several times to sob and wipe tears.

She pleaded guilty to robbery and assault causing bodily harm.

The girl was one of five teens who was involved in the incident that happened Sept. 28, 2012.

The man had been lured to Mount Pearl Square via text message by one of the other teenaged girls, who had promised him a date. Once he got there, a few other teens lured him to the woods where they kicked and punched him and robbed him of money, jewelry and a smart phone, all of which totalled $1,000. Covered in blood, the man sought help at a nearby store and was taken to hospital where he was treated for a broken nose, cuts and abrasions.

It was revealed in court that the man has a condition that is similar to cerebral palsy. He is also mentally delayed. But the teens say they had no idea the man had a disability.

When police seized the girl's phone after the incident, they saw a text message she had sent to a friend stating, "We almost (expletive) killed the guy."

The girl also pleaded guilty to mischief by damaging government property. While being taken to provincial court for one of her scheduled appearances in October, the girl wrote her name inside the sheriff's officers' van.

Crown prosecutor Sheldon Steeves had recommended the nine months in open custody, pointing to the seriousness of the offence.

McCarthy said four to six months was more appropriate. The pre-sentence report indicated the girl has had a turbulent life and lived in supervised care away from her remaining family. Her mother died in 2004 and her father was unable to parent her. Her grandparents had difficulty controlling her. She also has substance abuse issues, but is undergoing counselling.

She also pointed out that one of the other girls, a 17-year-old who had been the ring leader, was also given a sentence of nine months in open custody. McCarthy argued that her client was younger and has no prior record.

But Goulding said there wasn't much difference in the two.

While the girl showed remorse for her actions, Goulding said so did the 17-year-old co-accused. The judge pointed out that the younger girl "was an active participant in the incident."

She said there is not that much difference in the age between the two and that the 17-year-old's prior record only included one prior unrelated offence.

Three other youths charged in the incident have yet to have their cases dealt with. They're due back in court next month.



A 17-year-old male charged in connection with an attack and robbery of a disabled man in Mount Pearl last September has pleaded guilty to assault causing bodily harm.

The teen appeared this morning in provincial court in St. John's.

Other charges of robbery will be dealt with during a sentencing hearing set for April 16.

Defence lawyer Jonathan Regan, who appeared via audio link from Corner Brook, requested a pre-sentence report.

The boy was one of five teens arrested as a result of the assault.

A 15-year-old girl is set to sentenced this morning.

The investigation revealed that the five teens — three girls and two boys — involved had pre-planned the assault.

Two of the girls selected the victim days before the robbery and devised a plan to have him come to the movie theatre in Mount Pearl Square on the pretense of a romantic prospect.

Once there, one of the boys tricked him to go into the woods, where the teens assaulted and robbed him.

The man went to a nearby store for help and called the RNC. He was later treated in hospital for a broken nose, cuts and abrasions.

Geographic location: Mount Pearl, St. John's, Corner Brook

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Recent comments

  • Peggy
    February 19, 2013 - 19:43

    Too dam sorry too late, if they mean it, but I imagine they are just words, not real feelings. This so-called sentence is absolutely outrageous; no deterent whatsoever for future attacks by onyone on disabled persons, or mentally challenged, or the elderly, or any citizen. They are off to serve their "sentence" laughing. REALLY, WHAT IN THE NAME OF HEAVENS IS WRONG WITH OUR JUSTICE SYSTEM? What about the victim? He will be more than affected for the rest of his life; maybe never be able to trust anyone again ever.

  • Eli
    February 19, 2013 - 15:29

    Should I be surprised the judge bought into this delinquints sob story? No, Pamela Goulding and her likes would benefit society more with jobs in the baby sitting business.

  • grant
    February 19, 2013 - 15:15

    Its sad when we have to have a judge like Goulding, who is a big part of the problem. One of the accused asked Goulding if she could say something and she apologized to the victim. I would also apologize and i'd also go so far as say iam now a born again christen. Now i would like to see judge Goulding give an apologize to all the thousands of Newfoundlanders sha disapointed.

  • Jack
    February 19, 2013 - 14:24

    As a disabled person myself, I felt that the 15 year old hooligan should have got jail time, probation, counseling, and community service to be served at a disability related organization. In addition, she should be forced to pay to cover the cost of stolen items, make a $1,000 donation to Special Olympics Newfoundland and Labrador, forced to take disability awareness training, and pay $10,000 in punitive damages to be perfected, meaning the courts will go after her for the damages once she's an adult and have a job.

  • jack
    February 19, 2013 - 14:14

    if you keep voting for those liberal/ndp MP'S folks, nothing will change. you can be certain that they will vote against any crime bills that goes before the house of commons. it takes balls to stand up for victims of crime, something that is lacking from your MP'S . ABSOLUTELY DISGUSTING !

  • DavidHickey
    February 19, 2013 - 14:08

    A couple more lovely products from Mount Pearl.

  • John Smith
    February 19, 2013 - 13:56

    when she goes back to school she will have status now, she will enjoy this newfound noteriety...but we will see her again on the NTV news...I guarantee it...another life lost forever...

  • no justice in the kangeroo court
    February 19, 2013 - 13:43

    all the hug-a-thug liberals out in full force today putting criminals ahead of victims. what a corrupt sick society we live in when we have a mickey mouse justice and a phoney as a three dollar bill liberal document called: THE CHARTER OF RIGHTS & FREEDOMS protecting criminals ahead of victims.

  • mother
    February 19, 2013 - 12:06

    I also wanted to mention my daughter spent 109 in whitbourne..9 months will be in open .. another 41/2 months having to check in and also another 1-2 years probation....so its not a slap on the wrist ... they made a very bad choice and they will pay.. but as a HUMAN ADULT... everyone makes mistakes... some not as big as this... but it dosent mean you can never turn your life around...

  • mother
    February 19, 2013 - 11:56

    I am the MOTHER of the first youith that pleaded guilty and it was not some kind of relief as in .. I goit away with this .. she knows that it was very wrong to do and will pay for her stupidity!!! she looked at me and said OPEN simply because she knew she had PUT ME AS A MOTHER through alot!!!, I will never understand why such a senseless act was committed all we can do is hope that all of the youths involved will NEVER do this again I know MY daughter wont!!~ and open means being in a youth halfway house they have NO internt of cells , watched 24-7 , so dont think they are out running the streets she has made the mistake and it will effect her for the rest of her life .. they we ALL wrong.. and I as a parent am a very respectable person ... why she choose to take part in this inhumain act ... I will never know .. the only thing i do know is that it WAS NOT from her up bringing !!! I pray none of you as a parent has to go through what I have been through ... or the victim or his parents.

    • NH
      February 19, 2013 - 22:34

      I feel sorry for parents of kids that do something like this, especially if they are decent parents. Sadly not all parents care. When kids get to a certain age, usually 14-16 or so, you think you raised them properly, then they hang around with the wrong crowd that you don't know about and there is not much you can do about it. You can't watch then 24/7. I hope they learned their lesson and life works out for your family.

  • Geri
    February 19, 2013 - 11:36

    I couldn't have said it any better than CAROGERS. I am absolutely appalled and sickened that any court could hand down such a frivoulous 'sentence' to a group of teenagers who obviously lack any degree of decency and empathy towards another human being. Someone who plans and carries out something so cruel.. is nothing but pure evil.

  • Angela
    February 19, 2013 - 11:05

    I hope those found guilty of this crime are SEVERELY punished. This story makes me sick to my stomach, literally. I can't image how these kids could be so cruel. You are right Carogers, "INHUMANE" is the word.

  • al
    February 19, 2013 - 10:42

    Newfoundland take note of this incident. Be very concerned. It is wrong on many levels but the most disturbing of it all is the pre planning and the age of the offenders. This is a clear sign / further evidence of our decay as a nation. We must all come together and look for and fix root causes. No point in doing surface level things like incarceration and such. One must go deep to eliminate causes that make our young do such things.

  • GH
    February 19, 2013 - 10:21

    It's not only townies, look at Corner Brook, GFW, Burin Peninsula, it's everywhere. Does house arrest include restriction on visitors? I understand they can only leave the house under certain conditions like school or work but if their friends can visit or they are not checked on to be home when they should, I guess it's party time.

  • WestCoaster
    February 19, 2013 - 09:38

    Townies by.

  • carogers
    February 19, 2013 - 09:26

    Isn't this the case where one girl got open custody? She was seen on camera turningaround to her mother with a great big smile, very pleased with her "punishment". These types of sentencing are a joke and the criminal types both young and old just laugh and give each other high fives. Anyone beating upon another person after luring them into a secluded place should get jail time or time in youth detention. Not "vacation time", which is all house arrrest or open custody really is. Even if authorities did random visits conducted on these "vacation" sentencing there would be some controls in place. Try living in the neighbourhood where someone is under house arrest. Its party central! What kind of deterrant is that for someone who has shown inhumane cruelity toward a disabled person????????????