Social workers fear client in custody dispute, court hears

A North Shore social services office is in "lockdown" over fears of a father embroiled in a child-custody battle.

A Crown prosecutor Tuesday outlined measures taken by Secwepemc Child & Family Services to protect staff from Frederick Philip Shupe.

"All of them are expressing a real fear of Mr. Shupe," said Crown lawyer Neil Flanagan. "I've been told the Sydney Avenue office is now in lockdown . . . . Workers are afraid of him."

Shupe, 45, was convicted after trial on two counts of uttering threats. In the first instance he left a message on a social worker's voicemail stating "he will haunt her until she dies," Flanagan said.

In the second instance, he confided to a probation officer that he wanted to tie up social workers, hold them hostage and set traps for police when they come to free them.

Shupe is awaiting sentencing on the convictions. As part of his bail conditions, the Crown sought to keep him away from social workers, making his only contact through a lawyer.

His lawyer, Don Campbell, said Shupe doesn't want contact with Secwepemc Child & Family Services and would like the file transferred to another First Nations social agency in the city.

"He's forced to go there because his children are in their care. Secwepemc Child & Family Services holds the key to any contact with his children."

Shupe is involved in a separate family court proceeding regarding contact with his children.

Campbell said the agency "doesn't want anything to do with him but they cling tenaciously to his file."

Judge Edmond de Walle ruled that as part of bail conditions that Shupe have no direct or indirect contact with staff or family from the agency and he is banned from being within 100 metres of its offices.

He will be sentenced on the charges of uttering threats at a later date.

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