Judge adjourns decision in sentencing man on multiple charges

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PICTOU – A 20-year-old Trenton man facing more jail time will have to wait another few weeks to find out just how much longer he will be behind bars. 

Steven Burton Ward was arrested June 23 in Trenton following a disturbance at the home of his grandmother, which led to a police chase through the woods. Police had to use a Tasered to subdue the man.

He was charged with resisting arrest, possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, assault with a weapon, theft of a motor vehicle and uttering threats. Burton did plead not guilty to the charges, but changed his plea after his trial started.

He faced a total of 11 charges and has been in custody since June. If the Crown gets its way, Burton could remain behind bars for another three years.  

Crown attorney Bill Gorman called Ward “heedless” adding that he doesn’t appear to recognize how his actions affect people in the community.

He said both a pre-sentence report and psychiatric assessment state that Burton has anger and impulsivity issues.

Gorman said the June 23 incident is a perfect example of this because he lost his temper and his anger escalated after he heard that the police had been called.

“Public safety is a real concern,” he said, adding that time in federal custody would give Ward the structure and programs he needs to better himself.  “This was a serious, serious incident on June 23.”

The Crown recommended a 2 ½- to three-year sentence in federal jail, but defence lawyer Stephen Robertson said his client has turned a corner during the past few months.

He said Ward suffers from some serious mental health issues that have been made worse by substance abuse.   However since he has been awaiting sentencing, he has been forced to take his medication regularly which is helping to improve his mental health.

“He is as calm and as grounded as I have ever seen him,” said Robertson.

Robertson asked that his client, who has already been in jail for 110 days, serve a four-month custodial sentence and then be placed on probation.

He said the four-month sentence will give him time to find a place to live since he is no longer welcome at his grandmother’s mobile home park.   

“He can’t continue to take his medicine as an outpatient if he doesn’t have a medical chest to put it in,” he said.

Consider the vast difference in sentencing requests, provincial court judge Del Atwood said he would adjourn sentencing until Oct.17 to consider both arguments. 

Geographic location: Trenton

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  • Ted
    October 11, 2013 - 15:53

    I wanna puke everytime I see some lawyer or shrink whining their client has a mental this or that and had a rough childhood and the judge buys it everytime. Guess what? I suffer from a mental illness, so do I , so do1 in 4 Canadians, I grew up dirt poor, as do billions of others, we don't go out and commit crimes. We need some Judge Judy's around here to stop the bs in it's tracks and get to the facts and sentencings.