Have you heard about the SaltWire News app?
Want to become a member? Check out the benefits here.
SaltWire Selects: Weekend picks
Get the latest summer forecast and weather knowledge from Cindy Day
SaltWire's cartoonists bring heart and humour to the news.
What you need to know about COVID-19: August 14, 2020
Tim Blake maintains innocence on charges of violent crimes against his ex-girlfriend
Addressing the court at his sentencing hearing Wednesday, Tim Blake apologized for driving when he wasn’t allowed to. He apologized for driving dangerously, for fleeing from police officers and for breaching court orders.
Blake said nothing when it came to his other convictions, which include breaking into a woman’s home, threatening to cut off her legs, assaulting her and refusing to let her leave.
“The things I’ve admitted to, I apologize,” Blake, 28, told Judge Mike Madden in provincial court in St. John’s. “For being in the vehicle and driving pretty fast, I apologize for that.”
Blake had pleaded guilty to the driving charges and was convicted of the rest last month following a trial, but maintains his innocence when it comes to the violent crimes against his ex-girlfriend.
On Wednesday he asked Madden to release him from custody on all 12 charges, having been behind bars for seven months.
“Mr. Blake has instructed me to request a sentence of time served,” his lawyer, Tim O’Brien, told the judge.
O’Brien acknowledged the sentence was well below the established sentencing range for some of the crimes.
It was also well below Crown prosecutor Richard Deveau’s suggested sentence of 29 months in prison.
'Finish her off'
The charges stem from two incidents at the woman’s home on different dates last spring.
The woman testified during Blake’s trial that she and Blake had been dating for a few months when they began arguing at her home on March 8. She said Blake followed her around the home and threw a container of yogurt at her, causing her to slip as she tried to get away. She said Blake pushed her back to the floor when she managed to get up, knocking the wind out of her, and subsequently assaulted her in the living room.
She said she tried to leave the house, but Blake closed the front door each time she opened it, telling her that she wasn't going and threatening to cut off her legs. When he left to answer his ringing phone, the woman said, she ran outside and down the street, approaching a neighbour and asking her to call police.
The woman said she later moved to a different neighbourhood and was getting out of bed on the morning of May 4 when she heard Blake knocking on her front door and calling out angrily for her to let him in. When she refused, he tried to open the door, she said, then told her that he would call people to come and "finish her off."
The woman testified that she called her cousin, who called police. She then walked into her kitchen and found Blake standing there.
"He grabbed me by my hand and tried to bend my fingers backward. He also grabbed me by the mouth and pressed hard with his two fingers,” she testified.
Blake testified that he did not assault the woman and did not force his way into her house, and pointed out that in the case of the second incident, his name was on the lease of the woman’s home and she had welcomed him in hours earlier.
Blake was under an order to have no contact with the woman at the time.
Convicting Blake last month, Madden deemed his version of events unbelievable and said his testimony had included details that made no sense. His name may have been on the lease, but he wasn’t living there and had been banned from being there at all, Madden said.
At Blake’s sentencing hearing, Deveau presented Blake’s criminal record, which includes 72 convictions since 2012 and prior convictions in Alberta. The convictions include the same crimes he committed in this case, Deveau pointed out.
“If he had stayed away like he was supposed to, all this could have been avoided."
— Crown prosecutor Richard Deveau
Deveau said aggravating factors in the case were the domestic nature of the offences, the fact that Blake had driven dangerously at a time of day when there was a lot of traffic, his preventing the woman from leaving the house and the fact that he was not deterred by the presence of another person in the house.
“If he had stayed away like he was supposed to, all this could have been avoided,” Deveau said.
Deveau said he took no issue with Blake receiving enhanced credit for the time he has spent on remand, for a total credit of 324 days.
O’Brien submitted two letters to the court: one from a psychologist at Her Majesty's Penitentiary confirming Blake had been participating in counselling, and another from an addictions counsellor saying Blake was actively involved in treatment.
Blake gave the judge a list of things he said he has been doing in prison to rehabilitate, including participating on an inmate committee, horse therapy, addictions counselling, methadone treatment and attending motivational speeches by guests to the prison. He said he’s been accepted into a support program to help newly released offenders reintegrate in the community, and has plans to complete basic on-water training for the fishing industry.
“As you can see, I’m not just sitting in HMP doing nothing,” Blake said.
Madden will deliver his sentencing decision Dec. 12.
Blake has a three-day trial scheduled in March for six unrelated offences alleged to have been committed in February and April, including damaging a man’s property to a value of less than $5,000, theft from Circle K and possession of stolen goods.