CORNER BROOK, N.L. – A Newfoundland judge says the legal system has long failed to recognize the extent of violence faced by women who end relationships, and has opted to jail a man who threatened to kill his ex-girlfriend and distributed an intimate video of her.
Judge Wayne Gorman sentenced the 25-year-old man to eight months in jail, saying he needed to “stress deterrence and denunciation in cases involving offences committed by men against their former female partners.”
The woman broke up with the man after two years, according to the provincial court ruling, which was handed down late last month in Corner Brook.
Shortly after their breakup, she found him waiting by her car when she left a hair salon on Oct. 2, 2017. He kicked the door, denting it, told her he was going to kill her and made a throat-cutting gesture.
Four days later, he sent her an electronic message threatening to kill himself and her.
Then, a week later, he sent a video of her having sex with another man to one of her friends.
“I was terrified of where else the video was sent and also what he was saying to people about the video,” the woman said in her victim impact statement. “I’m concerned about what he is capable of if he would go as far as to send a video out of me. I’m concerned he would say things to my daughter and about what he would expose her to. I feel he is very manipulative. I changed the locks on my door for fear he may come to the house.”
The ruling identified the woman only as “X.” The Canadian Press has decided not to name the man to protect her identity.
The man’s lawyer had argued for a non-custodial sentence of four to six months served in the community, but the judge said a jail term was necessary, saying his actions “were designed to intimidate and humiliate a former partner.”
“Such crimes have been the subject of many studies and consultations, but little has changed,” Gorman said. “Our legal system has failed to recognize the extent of the violence that women who end relationships with their former male partners face. It has failed to acknowledge the reality that this violence can be deadly.”
The judge said the man’s most serious crime was transmitting the intimate video. Gorman noted he hadn’t posted it on the internet, but lost control over who saw it once he sent it to the woman’s friend, which “increases his level of moral responsibility.”
“That he would transmit an intimate video of her without her consent illustrates his inability to accept the end of the relationship. It also illustrates his strong desire to harm and humiliate (her),” said Gorman.
The man, who is unemployed, pleaded guilty to the multiple charges against him. He apologized and said he wished he could take his actions back, and recognized the need to make changes in his life.
The eight-month sentence includes time imposed by Gorman for convictions of assaulting a police officer and breaching a recognizance in an unrelated disturbance in January 2018. In addition to the jail term, the man was also sentenced to three years’ probation. The judge also ordered him to stay away from any street or building in which the woman lives, works or goes to school; refrain from talking about her on social media; and surrender any intimate photos or videos he has of her.
Gorman said the man’s sentence would be reduced by 108 days, because of time spent in custody awaiting his sentencing.