See also Site Map
From Jutta Mason to “Dufferingrovefriends” neighbourhood list serve, May 16, 2006
Dufferin Grove Park is not a social work agency and so we don’t try to find people who are in trouble. But when trouble finds us, we try to follow it up. Last January a long-time friend of the park was at the Manulife Centre with her kids. While she tried to find out some information from the building staff, a man grabbed her eldest (10-year-old) daughter and tried to pull her along with him. The plucky kid resisted and he was arrested soon after. Read More
Justice B.Knazan: Sentence is suspended on each of the three counts concurrent, in view of six and one half month’s pre-trial custody. And you are places on probation for a period of three years. And I will set out the conditions of your probation at the end of my reasons. The defendant is 42 years old. He is an immigrant to Canada originally from Vietnam, but spent time in a refugee camp in the Philippines before coming to Canada in his twenties. He suffers from schizophrenia. He has a very short but troubling criminal record, which he has added to through the events of the last year.
In 1999 he was convicted of sexual assault. I am informed that the complainant was a young female whose buttocks he touched on the subway. He spent 85 days in pre-trial custody equivalent to a six-month sentence, and was placed on probation for three years, until 2002, which is a probation he seems to have complied with.
In late 2005 he was on bail for a charge, which is not proceeding, but it has required him to comply with the general condition of keep the peace and good behaviour, and the specific addition “Not to have any contact with any female under that age of 18,” because the alleged complainant in that case was a young female.
While on that bail pretty well in the middle of the day, at a busy shopping mall he approached the complainant in this case, and actually held her and tried to entice her to go with him. And she had – although only ten years old, had full presence of mind, would not go with him, reported him, and he was apprehended. However that short incident left a big impression on her, which I will return to, and it is very serious that Mr.Huynh could do that while on that specific bail condition. The charges framed seem to be somewhat archaic, but it amounts to an attempted abduction of a young girl. So those are the facts on those two.
He was released on bail and failed to appear for a court attendance, and that is the third count.
The doctor who has been treating him for schizophrenia gives further troubling information, saying that he lacks insight into his illness and therefore he is hard to treat, and that he is not compliant with taking medication. Crown counsel characterizes this as a conflict of the mental health problems of the defendant with the need to protect the public. I am sorry if I am misquoting. I am paraphrasing. It is a clash of two principles, but the protection of the public must prevail whatever the court’s sympathy for Mr.Huynh and his illness.
And I would like to state in this case, as in every case in which schizophrenia is the diagnosis, that although it is so commonly referred to, the courts receive little expert evidence on exactly what it means in this and other cases, and the court is left supposing that it somehow leads a person who suffers from it to act in a way that is not in character. But that is why I referred to the troubling nature of Mr.Huynh’s short record, because there is a pattern developing here even on two convictions for the substantial charges. And the pattern indicates that young girls are in danger if he does not take his medication.
So really the issue here is whether further jail is required in order to protect the public despite the illness. And – well I will accept the submission that the equivalent of 13 months in prison is proportionate to the offence. And that eventually Mr. Huynh will have to be released so that this has to be dealt with. There is no basis for making probation any longer than the maximum, and in fact if more were available I would impose it, because I think the proposed term can only help Mr.Huynh himself. I found the victim impact statement, particularly the actual victim’s, very insightful and poignant, and she states that she just wants to be left alone by adults so that she can have a safe childhood. It is unclear whether Mr.Huynh had the benefit of a safe childhood himself. His self-reporting is very spotty. Basically he told Dr.Langevin that he did, although he comes from Vietnam, which one would tend to associate with the war and a bad childhood. His report to Dr.Langevin was that he was not exposed to the war in his country or its sequelae.
His parents were normal. There was never lack of food, clothing, and shelter. He may not have captured the whole of his history, because he did also report that his father spent six months in a mental hospital when he was seven years old, and he spent that time with an aunt or with his father in the mental hospital. But underlying his guilty plea is that he knew what he was doing, and he has taken responsibility for it despite the schizophrenia. And the complainant is absolutely right, she and other young children have the right to be left alone. So for those reasons the probation order will be the maximum.
So Mr.Huynh, you are to keep the peace, be of good behaviour, report to a probation officer today and afterwards as directed. You are not to be in the area defined by Dupont Street to the north, Bathurst Street to the east, Dufferin Street to the west, and Queen Street to the south, unless travelling directly to or from a medical appointment or travelling through in a vehicle. You are not to be in a any schoolyard or playground. And it is up to you to inform yourself of where those are, so that you do not even cross them or use them as shortcuts.
You are not to have any contact directly or indirectly with the complainant or any member of her immediate family, or any child under the age of 18. I think we need an exception for that, Mr.Ball; we do not want to confine him to a small life? Can we qualify, in the presence of an adult?
Mr.Ball (Crown Counsel): I’d accept that, Your Honour.
Justice Knazan: Except in the presence of an adult person. I have to think about that. That is not satisfactory either because we have no control over the other person.
Unless in the presence of an adult person 21 years of age or older, with the prior approval of your probation officer regarding both the child and the adult person. You are to attend – can I have the actual name of the intensive program at the Mount Sinai?
Mr.Nguyen (lawyer for Mr.Huynh): Yes, Your Honour, it’s called the Assertive Community Treatment Team at Mount Sinai Hospital. Justice Knazan: You are to continue treatment for schizophrenia with Dr.Sam Law, or any doctor to whom he refers you.
There will be an order under section 110 of the Criminal Code prohibiting you from possessing any firearms, ammunitions, explosive substances, or any of the other items listed in my order, for a period of ten years. And do you have any submissions?
Mr.Nguyen: No, Your Honour.
Justice Knazan: If you do not he will be subject to several victim surcharges…
Mr.Nguyen: Your honour…
Justice Knazan: I know his income from the pre-sentence report, I think it would cause undue hardship to him and he is exempt from paying the victim surcharges.
Mr.Nguyen: I would request it to be waived? Justice Knazan: Yes.