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Justice Vikas Khaladkar gave Colin Wheeler a little leniency, but not everything the lifelong criminal had asked for when he was sentenced Thursday afternoon.
Wheeler, 36, was convicted earlier this year of assault with a weapon, mischief and two breaches of a court order in relation to an incident in Benoit’s Cove in October 2017.
The incident involved two women victims, including one to whom Wheeler held a knife. He also later contacted her while he was in prison despite being ordered by the courts not to do so.
The assault happened not long after Wheeler had finished serving a four-year sentence for assault and forcible confinement in British Columbia, which itself was preceded by another four-year prison term for a stabbing incident committed in Corner Brook.
In the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador earlier this week, after Crown attorney Adam Sparkes had asked Khaladkar to sentence Wheeler to between 31/2 and 41/2 years in prison for his latest crime, Wheeler suggested he should get a lighter sentence.
Wheeler, who represented himself in court, asked the judge for house arrest in the range of 18 to 24 months. He also said he should get a credit of three days for every day served in custody prior to sentencing because most of that time was spent in what he described as unconstitutional segregation from the general prison population.
Wheeler also argued a more lenient sentence was warranted because he has not been receiving his medication for various mental disorders.
Khaladkar sentenced Wheeler to 3 1/2 years, noting that the assault was actually at the lower range of seriousness. The judge said there was no physical injury to any victim and lunges Wheeler made with the knife never found their mark.
In terms of credit for time served, Khaladkar said that, although it seemed likely it was Wheeler’s own attitude and actions that landed him in solitary confinement, he should still get the benefit of the doubt. Khaladkar gave Wheeler 1 1/2days credit — the maximum a court can give — for each of the 383 days he had served in pre-sentence custody.
That means Wheeler will be credited with having served 55 days of his 3 1/2-year sentence.
The breakdown of the sentencing was three years for the assault with a weapon, six months to be served concurrently for the mischief charge and three months for each of the two court order breaches. Those six months are to be served consecutively to the three years for the assault with a weapon.
Khaladkar also placed Wheeler on probation for two years following his release. The conditions include that he remain within Newfoundland and Labrador and have no contact with his victims, unless contact is initiated by them.
Wheeler is not finished with the courts yet. He still has outstanding charges stemming from alleged assaults while incarcerated at Her Majesty’s Penitentiary in St. John’s, which will be called in provincial court in the capital city today.
He also has charges in Corner Brook stemming from allegedly trying to intimidate both the judge and Crown involved in his trial for which Khaladkar handled the sentencing portion.