Threats seemingly too real and violent to be ignored did not constitute an offence under the Criminal Code, a defence lawyer argued in provincial court on Monday.
Shane Adam, 22, was charged with uttering threats after he told a mental health intake worker on July 5 that he was contemplating acts of violence against the parents of his ex-girlfriend.
The worker, believing the plans were too detailed and specific to overlook, notified police. A police officer spotted Adam on the street last Wednesday and arrested him. He has been in custody since.
Adam remains on probation after pleading guilty May 2 to an unrelated assault committed in February. He also has a history of harassing his ex-girlfriend. In April he was found guilty of harassment and received a 60-day jail sentence. Charges vetted in court Monday included a breach of probation stemming from that conviction.
The latest charges arose from an interview Adam was having with an intake worker prior to admission to Inland Mental Health Services. He told the worker he had a plan to kick in the family's door, "bear mace" and beat the father, and beat the mother of his estranged ex-girlfriend, with whom he has a one-year-old child. He hoped to commit the acts in front of her to terrorize her, he told the worker.
When informed of the threats, the family felt Adam was once again interfering in their lives. Based on the man's earlier behaviour and convictions, they felt genuinely threatened. They left their home temporarily and the father took time off work to deal with the matter until Adam was arrested weeks later.
Crown opposed Adam's application for bail because of the threats and his past behaviour. However, defence counsel Sheldon Tate said what his client told the intake worker does not constitute an offence. It was information given in confidence in the context of a health interview, he said.
"He was in the process of getting a psychological assessment in order to get into a program," Tate said. Reporting that confidential information was a disservice to the individuals mentioned, he submitted. He said his client has acknowledged mental health issues related to fetal alcohol syndrome and hyperactive attention deficit disorder.
"The day has come when Big Brother can look into our skulls and condemn us for what's in it," Tate added.
The threats demonstrate only that Adam needs psychiatric assistance, assistance he can't get if he's kept in custody, Tate said.
Adam also faces the breach charge, which resulted from a letter he sent his ex-girlfriend, with whom he had a no-contact order, while in KRCC. He addressed the letter to his one-year-old child. His ex-girlfriend believes it was an attempt to contact her.
Judge Christopher Cleaveley decided to have the threat matter stood down to allow Crown to gather relevant case histories. The case returns to court Wednesday.