COMPLETING HIS community work service hours early could get a man a shortened probation to help him turn his life around.
Robert Dixon, 32, heard this from Judge Hermann Seidemann while being sentenced for a failure to report breach Feb. 28 in provincial court here.
Seidemann gave him a suspended sentence and placed him on six months of probation with 35 hours of community work service to be done by June 30.
Prosecutor Rita Kis and defence lawyer Ken Anderson presented a joint sentence submission to Seidemann, who said that the general rule is for him to accept it unless he thinks it’s not appropriate.
“Unfortunately, I think it’s completely inappropriate,” said Seidemann.
Kis and Anderson had asked for a fine of $750.
Dixon has a lengthy criminal record but to his credit, this breach is the last matter before the courts and is quite dated, said Kis about the breach, which happened in 2010.
“He has taken steps to turn his life around and is not before the court any longer and as a result, I do not see the purpose in probation or jail,” said Kis, adding that Dixon had employment prospects so a fine was suggested.
Anderson said Dixon was upgrading his education so he could take further job training and when he wasn’t working, was on social assistance and supporting his girlfriend and their young child.
His criminal record was linked to alcohol, which he quit when he learned his spouse was expecting, said Anderson.
Seidemann said a fine leads to an important question.
“When, where and how does he expect to get employment and until then, how would he pay this kind of fine?” Seidemann asked.
“He would need a considerable length of time to pay, at least a year,” said Anderson.
“If you’re on social assistance and going to school and doing all this stuff, it’s not realistic [to pay a $750 fine],” said Seidemann.
“I’m trying not to set you up for a problem. I’ll set you up on probation and to do community service work. When the community service work is done, if you come back [you can ask for an end to your probation] and I will do so,” he said, adding he would be happy to cut Dixon’s probation short.