Pubdate: Fri, 16 Jan 2004
Source: North Shore News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2004 North Shore News
Author: Colin Wright


ACCORDING to a probation officer's report, the 13-year-old West Vancouver 
youth put on two years' probation for slashing a fellow student's throat at 
Rockridge secondary last fall has been smoking pot and drinking alcohol 
since he was sentenced in December.

The youth, who cannot be identified under the Young Criminal Justice Act, 
appeared Monday before North Vancouver provincial court Judge Doug Moss for 
a progress review.

On learning the youth has been smoking marijuana and drinking alcohol, Moss 
said, "If you think you can beat the system, forget it. You're butting your 
head against a seriously-hard concrete wall. I want you to think seriously 
about what you are doing."

On Dec. 10, 2003, the youth pleaded guilty to aggravated assault after 
using his three-inch pocket knife to slash the throat of a 16-year-old 
Rockridge student. The attack occurred late on the afternoon of Oct. 21, 
2003, at what students' called the smoke pit, across the road from 
Rockridge near Caulfeild Village Mall.

The 16-year-old victim received a 15-centimetre (six-inch) cut across his 
neck. He required emergency surgery at Lions Gate Hospital. Within five 
days, however, he was sufficiently recovered from his near-fatal wound to 
be released from hospital.

West Vancouver Police Department investigators recommended a charge of 
attempted murder against the youth.

The incident attracted many Lower Mainland print and electronic media 
reporters to the North Vancouver provincial courthouse.

North Vancouver Crown prosecutors did not accept the police recommendation 
and charged the youth with aggravated assault which includes life 
endangerment in the criminal action.

While few details of the youth's failings during the last month were 
released in public court Monday,

Moss made a general reference to "a whole pile of concerns" about the 
youth's progress.

Noting that a probation officer's report states the youth "had been abusing 
marijuana and alcohol" during the last month, Moss told him sternly, "It's 
illegal to possess marijuana and yet you're using it. And you're under age 
and you're drinking alcohol."

When Moss asked him if he understood that he is strictly prohibited from 
using either substance the youth, with his father sitting in the back of 
the courtroom, answered, "Yes."

(A court order prohibits the youth from being with his parents unless under 
strict supervision.)

Crown lawyer Gillian Parsons said the probation officer's report indicates 
that apart from attending all his weekly counselling sessions "the youth 
has not done well. We would expect there to be full compliance before he is 
rewarded for good behaviour."

Moss, who has been the judge on the case from the day the youth first 
appeared in court, called it "a positive sign" that the youth is attending 
all his counselling sessions and noted there had even been "some 
participation" in the sessions by the youth.

However, Moss told the teenager, "I want you to continue and I want you to 
try and get along in the (foster) home."

In December Moss sentenced the youth to two years' probation and ordered 
him to participate in a two-year intensive support and supervision program.

Moss also ordered the 13-year-old to be removed from his parents' home - 
both of whom have a history of mental illness - and be placed in a foster home.

During the December sentencing hearing, Moss was told the youth had a 
"weapons fetish" and had been the victim of extensive bullying for several 
months immediately prior to the aggravated assault.

A psychologist's assessment stated that the youth "is at the development 
stage of a three-to four-year-old" and characterized the teenager's home 
life as "highly toxic."

Between the ages of six and 10 the youth did not attend school, according 
to the psychologist, and his parents kept him from the outside world.

In light of the unfavourable report by the probation officer, Moss said 
that he had no intention of amending any of the conditions he had imposed 
in sentencing and ordered that the youth appear before him again next month 
for another review.
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MAP posted-by: Keith Brilhart