Man 25 years old, racks up 71 court dates, 1 theft charge
Barry Artiste, Now Public Contributor
Anyone who racks up 71 court appearances before a judge on a litany of criminal charges, certainly as this offender states "I am trying to turn my life around" speaks of the seriousness of Justice in Canada.
What does it take to stop this? Perhaps a Canadian "72 Strikes Law"? Similar to California's "3 Strikes Law?"
No wonder our courts and police resources are stretched to the Max. There is no one to blame but society itself for allowing Politicans to get away with this travesty by not voicing our displeasure at voting time.
Attorney General Chris Bentley could get a migraine after reading about this case.
Nevil Hines, 25, made his 71st court appearance yesterday on a charge of theft over $5,000. With encouragement from Ontario Court Justice Gregory Pockele, he pleaded guilty to stealing a motorcycle two years ago.
"By the time this goes to trial, people won't be using gas-powered machines," Pockele said upon scanning the lengthy list of adjournments in the case.
Pockele is well known around the London courthouse for his impatience for cases that wend their way through the court at a snail's pace.
So is Bentley, a former London defence lawyer who announced last week a four-year provincial plan to reduce court delays 30 per cent and to increase legal aid.
Pockele told Hines he was "drawing a line in the sand."
"I will do (this case) if I have to take a vacation day," he said.
The last of a long parade of Hines's defence lawyers, Gord Cudmore, said that wouldn't be necessary.
Hines pleaded guilty.
Assistant Crown attorney Mark Czerkawski said the $9,000 motorcycle was seen taken from a trailer at a moving van company lot on Sovereign Road and loaded into a minivan. Hines was later spotted by police riding the bike near Osgoode Drive and Adelaide Street.
He used his Canadian passport for identification and had no documents for the bike. There was damage to the ignition.
Cudmore told Pockele that Hines didn't steal the bike.
Hines also pleaded guilty to two other charges -- one for failing to come to one of his 71 appearances and one for breaching a release condition.
"Most of the defence bar has acted for (Hines) in one way or another" over the two years it took to reach the guilty plea, Cudmore said.
Cudmore said his client is serving the last six months of a sentence he was dealt May 21 for a gun-related crime.
He said Hines is trying to get his life in order. He has a four-year-old child and no prior criminal record.
Cudmore asked for time served since Hines's May sentencing. Czerkawski asked for 30 days.
"The Crown said 30 days and that's what it's going to be," Pockele said.