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Golf club-wielding man pleads guilty

Katherine Hudson
Northern News Services
Published Monday, May 9, 2011

SOMBA K'E/YELLOWKNIFE - A 22-year-old Hay River man who hit another man with a golf club was handed a one year community-based sentence Thursday in Supreme Court after he pleaded guilty to the count of assault with a weapon stemming from an incident which took place in June 2009.

Justice Louise Charbonneau said although the sentence should mirror the seriousness of the incident, she took into account the fact that Neil Gladue was a first-time offender and that "he took charge of his life and he worked hard. She also said he was a good candidate for positive rehabilitation.

"The act was totally out of character. He will not endanger the community."

On June 21, 2009, at the Hay River Reserve, a fight broke out between Gladue and another man, Brian Fabian, 46. Both men were intoxicated at the time, according to Crown prosecutor Alexander Godfrey.

During the fight Gladue went into his home, grabbed a golf club and hit the other man who blocked the blow with his arm and received a puncture wound. Gladue struck the man's upper back three more times before the Fabian was able disarm Gladue. Fabian then attacked Gladue and hit him on the head, for which Gladue needed medical attention.

The RCMP broke up the fight and both men were charged.

Fabian was charged with aggravated assault and sentenced to two years less a day jail time back in September. He had 15 months left to serve after his time in custody was factored in.

Charbonneau said the discrepancy in sentences was due to the fact Fabian has a lengthy criminal record, including 37 prior convictions, 12 of which are violent in nature. Considering Gladue has no prior record, the judge said he was not a risk to the community and could serve his sentence in Hay River.

"These are senseless fights," said Charbonneau, who had conditions to Gladue's sentence, including a house arrest for the first four months except for employment and a curfew from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. Gladue must also abstain from consuming alcohol and drugs and perform 200 hours of community service, among other conditions.

"I'm sorry for wasting your time dealing with me ... I shouldn't be here. I should be at home with my daughter," said Gladue.

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