Doug Millroy: Restrictive Conditions on Eric Mearow

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It is a good thing that the Crown is attempting to place restrictive conditions on Eric Mearow, one of three men who in July of last year got to plead guilty to manslaughter in the 2011 slaying of Wesley Hallam, as Mearow is about to be released from prison full-time.

But it would have been even better if it had done a better job in the first place, such as not agreeing to a plea bargain that saw the charges against Mearow, Ron Mitchell and Dylan Jocko, dropped all the way from first-degree murder to manslaughter.

The charges should never have gone below second-degree murder and a decision as to guilty or not guilty should have been left to a jury, not through some backroom dealings between the Crown and the defence.

The Crown apparently thought there were some frailties in its case because the three involved in the slaying were drunk at the time.

But how could it really be known if they were drunk or not since no breathalyser samples were taken because the three were not arrested for days after the slaying. We are left to conclude that the Crown simply took the word of the accused that they were too drunk to form the intent to kill.

That, of course, is hard for some of us to buy since Hallam’s head and other parts of his body were cut off. They weren’t too drunk to manage that.

Although Mearow, according to a post on the Facebook page of Hallam’s mother, Sandra, was released into the community on Friday, he is scheduled to appear before Justice of the Peace Philip Stanghetta on Dec. 5, at which time he will either agree to enter into a recognizance or be returned to jail for a further 12 months.

However, indications are that he is prepared to accept the conditions of Sec. 810 of the Criminal Code of Canada. It says:

“810.(1) An information may be laid before a justice by or on behalf of any person who fears on reasonable grounds that another person will cause personal injury to him or her or to his or her spouse or common-law partner or child or will damage his or her property.

“(2) A justice who receives an information under subsection (1) shall cause the parties to appear before him or before a summary conviction court having jurisdiction in the same territorial division.

“(3) The justice or the summary conviction court before which the parties appear may, if satisfied by the evidence adduced that the person on whose behalf the information was laid has reasonable grounds for his or her fears,

“(a) order that the defendant enter into a recognizance, with or without sureties, to keep the peace and be of good behaviour for any period that does not exceed 12 months, and comply with such other reasonable conditions prescribed in the recognizance, including the conditions set out in subsection (3.1) and (3.2), as the court considers desirable for securing the good conduct of the defendant; or

“(b) commit the defendant to prison for a term not exceeding 12 months if he or she fails or refuses to enter into the recognizance.”

Subsection (3.1) concerns the prohibition of possessing weapons and (3.2) concerns not being near or communicating with the person on whose behalf the information has been laid.

When I first read this section I had some concern with the 12-month limit on the recognizance, but I took heart in noting that this limit somehow was bumped up to 24 months for Mitchell, the first of the three to be released.

He recently headed for Alberta after signing the recognizance document before Ontario Court of Justice Judge Paul Condon.

Mitchell was the only one of the three to apologize for his actions when the trio was sentenced and he apologized again before Condon.

“I’m deeply sorry,” Mitchell told court. “I hope one day I’ll be forgiven.”
As detailed above, a Section 810 comes into play when there are fears that a person due to be released could cause injury to someone or damage to property.

Assistant Crown Attorney David Kirk told the court that witnesses are “very fearful” of Mearow.

This fear actually extends to his own family, one family member last year writing on NorthernHoot, an online news site, that the family wanted him kept in jail.
Mearow questioned why conditions were being proposed now and was told the process had commenced weeks ago.

Actually, I had the same question.

But then it quickly came to me; it was just that the Crown hadn’t done its job in the first place.

The plea bargain cutting the charges of first-degree murder all the way down to manslaughter was a slap in the face to the Hallam family, the community at large and the Sault Ste. Marie Police Service.

City police chief Bob Keetch told me for a column I wrote last year about the plea bargain that in excess of 200 officers from the city force and OPP had been committed to the investigation over time.

“We interviewed in excess of 200 witnesses and the Crown brief exceeds 90,000 pages,” he said. “There was a thorough, competent and expensive investigation conducted which ultimately resulted in the three individuals being identified and charged with first-degree murder.”

I said at the time it was obvious the police did their jobs. I found it disheartening that those in the Crown attorney’s office didn’t seem prepared to do theirs.

Wesley Hallam died from a three-centimetre wide, six-centimetre-deep stab wound to the left side of his neck, according to a joint statement of facts presented by the Crown and defence lawyers.

Hallam’s carotid artery and jugular vein were both severed when Mitchell plunged his four-inch folding knife into Hallam, but there was little initial bleeding.

The joint statement of agreed facts revealed that Hallam was the first to pull a knife at the party, but he had been disarmed by a blow to the arm from Jocko before he was attacked by Mitchell.

Mitchell received a sentence of 22 months on top of time already spent in custody. Mearow and Jocko both received two years less a day, after time already spent in custody and their aboriginal backgrounds were taken into consideration.

It wasn’t enough, not even close to being enough.

 

 

10 COMMENTS

  1. Disgusting abuse of the justice system! Thank you Doug for your honourable thought once again! Sure miss your column! My heart goes out to the mother of the deceased! Prayers to help you, in this bizarre situation!

  2. This is such a travesty of justice !!! Does anyone really think he will follow the restrictions? He basically got away with murder , they all got away with it and it’s sickening that the Crown did not do their job in the first place instead they did back door deals . I bet if it was one of their family members this would have been a totally different outcome .

  3. The whole situation is outrageous. They were too drunk? how can that even be a defense? Mearow has always been in trouble with the law. He has been charged with many many crimes, yet he still re-offends. Does anyone believe that he will now be a changed man and obey the conditions set out by the courts? Not likely. People are afraid of this human garbage and rightly so. What about their rights?? This affair was mishandled in very obvious ways, The police should have been allowed to bring their case forward instead of having it taken away by the Crown, I’m sure if this case had been before a jury the outcome would have had a very different. I’m sure the first degree murder charges would have stuck and no lenient plea bargain would have been acceptable.

  4. Mearow has been a violent offender since he was young. He was cocky to the judge this week, he doesn’t care. He never will. He has no conscience and will break the law again. Let’s hope nobody dies this time. He is out on our streets, lurking evil that he is. It’s not like all of a sudden he is going to fly straight and become a productive member of society. He contacted people he wasn’t supposed to while IN JAIL. Why didn’t he get more time for those transgressions?? Does anyone seriously think he will honour some conditions put on him now?? He is one of those thugs that hurts people because he likes it! He is the ringleader have no doubt about that. I hope he parties it up all weekend and misses court so they can throw him back in.

  5. This is enough to make anyone sick to their stomach.
    The justice system is a joke and it has failed the family and the city, miserably. How long before he kills or maims someone again?
    With a lifetime loser such as this that has showed no respect for anyone or anything, in fact just the opposite, I would wager that it won’t be long at all.

  6. Doesn’t this give anyone who commits a horrendous crime an easy out? Sorry I was drunk. Actually in Mearow’s case he isn’t sorry, he wouldn’t even say he was sorry. The only one that apologized was Mitchell.
    Well judge, I’m not responsible, I was drunk.
    Outrageous.

  7. I wonder where he is right now in our fine city? A free man. (until he goes to court monday) …but when he does go to court I’m sure he will agree to the conditions, better some conditions than another year in jail.

    The thing that is disturbing is that he doesn’t care about conditions, lol, he had over 100 infraction while IN JAIL, he should have had serious time added for all those. He was contacting people he wasn’t supposed to be contacting while he was IN JAIL….as if he will honour rules now out on the streets!?? The other thing that is disturbing is that the police don’t even agree with the crowns statements of fact.

    I wonder….did Hallam really pull a knife first? The three guys that killed him of course are going to say he did, but did he really? Even Jocko said he felt he had no choice but to do what Mearow said, or he’d be next.

    It is the biggest miscarriage of justice I have ever seen. I can’t believe it happened in our city. Mearow is ‘institutionalized’, he has been in the prison system since he was young, he has committed violent acts well before this murder, he has been an evil thug his whole damn life, he was angry in court last week cocking off to the judge. He is dangerous. No two ways about it.

    One of the conditions is no weapons. well duh, ya think?? How about an articulating saw? Is that a weapon? Because that is what he used to dismember Hallam. Make no mistake about it, Eric Mearow was the ring leader, and still is. If people didn’t seriously fear the guy it wouldn’t have taken so long to arrest the three. So many people that were there stayed quiet for DAYS- out of fear.

    He is a dangerous offender and is well beyond any kind of rehabilitation. He WILL break the law again, he knows no other way of life, what can anyone expect? A guy like this to get a job flipping pizzas and become a productive member of society? Lets just hope nobody loses their life when he does go off the rails, or the crown will have blood on their hands, again.

    To all the witnesses that are now terrified, a lot probably left town out of fear. How twisted is that? Mearow is out a free man, now the witnesses are in their own private prison of hell. You were so brave to testify at the prelim hearing, and you were all let down terribly by this backdoor plea deal. I wouldn’t have ever thought these guys would see the light of day again, as I’m sure the witnesses also thought.

    The guy should have to wear a monitoring bracelet for a year, so the police can see when he is lurking around the streets at night, and where.

    I hope he parties all weekend and misses court Monday, maybe they can throw him back in for a while if he does.

    After what he did, may he roast in hell.

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