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Derrick Joseph Alder, 31, of Charlottetown was sentenced to 90 days in jail on two counts of assault and one count of damage to property, after entering guilty pleas in Georgetown Provincial Court on Thursday, June 17.

Mr Alder is Indigenous and a Gladue report was provided so the judge could examine the circumstances and challenges she has faced, as required by the Criminal Code.

Crown Prosecutor Chad McQuaid said the report showed a recurring pattern of domestic violence in Mr Alder’s family as a result of the intergenerational impact of residential schools.

“It’s no wonder substance abuse was prevalent in his family. (The report offers) an explanation for what’s happened,” Mr McQuaid said.

He suggested a period of three to five months in jail would be appropriate, given Mr Alder’s lengthy record of assaults.

Defence lawyer Justin Milne said Mr Alder’s ancestors were survivors of the residential school in Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia.

“It’s one of the more sobering Gladue reports I’ve read, in terms of the experiences he has been through,” Mr Milne said. “He certainly has a number of mitigating factors.”

While serving a sentence on a separate matter, Mr Alder entered the GED program at the Provincial Correctional Centre of his own accord, completing nine weeks of work.

A letter from program staff detailed strong attendance, strong work ethic, a positive attitude and willingness to learn as well as respect for staff and other students.

Mr Milne said Mr Alder has also completed an assessment with the Native Council of PEI and attended sessions of the Smart Recovery program.

Judge Nancy Orr said the case is an example of the lasting impact and intergenerational trauma of residential schools.

“My concern is the level of violence would appear to be increasing,” Judge Orr said.

Mr Alder asked if he could be sentenced to house arrest on Lennox Island with his mother, who is seriously ill. His request was denied.

Judge Orr sentenced him to 45 days for an April 15 assault that took place at Lennox Island, another 45 days to be served consecutively for a May 14 assault at St Patrick Road and 30 days for damage to property, to be served concurrently.

Mr Alder also received 18 months’ probation including an order to have no contact with the victim. He must pay $200 in restitution for a broken window and provide a DNA sample for the national databank as well.

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Nicholas Ashley Carter, 40, of Souris was sentenced to five days in jail and fined $2,000 along with a $600 Victims of Crime surcharge and a driving prohibition. He had previously pled guilty on June 10 to driving under the influence of alcohol.

Mr Carter was stopped at an RCMP checkpoint in Souris on April 29. Officers observed his speech was slurred, his eyes were glossy and they smelled liquor on his breath. He provided a breath sample of 180 mg.

Judge Orr said a short period of custody was required, particularly because Mr Carter’s blood alcohol level was higher than 120 and 160 mg, both of which are aggravating factors.

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Jason Edward MacDonald, 44, of Union Road pled guilty to driving under the influence of alcohol.

Court heard Kings District RCMP were conducting a checkstop on June 8 in Cardigan at the intersection of Route 4 and Route 5. Mr MacDonald was stopped at 9:35 pm and police noticed his eyes were bloodshot. He was taken to the Montague Detachment and provided breath samples of 150 and 160 mg.

Mr MacDonald’s criminal record includes two DUIs and a refusal to take a breathalyzer. He said he had been sober from 2005 until about a month before the incident.

Mr MacDonald’s request to serve his sentence on weekends was denied because Public Health regulations which won’t allow it are still in place.

Judge Orr adjourned sentencing to July 15 to allow Mr MacDonald to make arrangements with his employer.

“You’re looking at 10-15 days (in jail),” she said.

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Derrick Bruce Gormley, 35, of Murray Harbour pled guilty to assault and violating the terms of a release order.

Mr McQuaid said RCMP were called to a residence in Hopefield on April 8 around 10 pm after a verbal altercation with the victim had become physical. Mr Gormley then left the house and went into the woods, where police located and arrested him at 11:10 pm.

He signed a release order the next day that prohibited any contact with the victim, but they continued to be in contact.

On April 23, police were called to a residence in Murray River after a 911 call from someone who heard a struggle outside that sounded like a physical altercation. Court heard Mr Gormley pushed the victim off the porch. The victim was not injured but fell to the ground on their back.

Mr Gormley’s defence lawyer requested a pre-sentence report focusing on mental health and addictions. The case was adjourned to August 19 for sentencing.

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Emily Dellis Bernard, 31 of Scotchfort will serve a conditional 30-day sentence in her community for driving while prohibited, after pleading guilty on February 18.

Ms Bernard is Indigenous and a Gladue report explored the trauma of her ancestors attending the Shubenacadie residential school, and some experiences while there.

“(Reading about it) makes your skin crawl,” Mr Milne said. “Intergenerational trauma leads to self-destructive behaviour.”

Mr McQuaid suggested community service would be sufficient, given the circumstances.

Mr Milne detailed positive steps Ms Bernard has taken, including creating her own support network and relying on those people for help.

“She wants to grow in her community and maybe one day be an elder,” Mr Milne said. “She’s very committed to making sure she’s on the right path.”

Mr Milne recommended probation with community service, wanting to explore all alternatives to incarceration. He also asked the judge to waive the customary (but not mandatory) driving prohibition, but a six-month ban was imposed.

Judge Orr spoke of the impact of residential schools from one generation to the next and the struggle of parenting for people who grew up without their family.

The judge described Ms Bernard as a very capable, intelligent person who has articulated her goals clearly.

“She’s availed herself of resources in the community. She has been working to improve her situation and her life and provide a better life for her children.”

For the first week of the conditional sentence, Ms Bernard must remain on her property unless authorized by her supervisor. After that, she must be home between the hours of 6 pm and 6 am.

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