Remorseful man gets second chance

The Daily Press
In Court - Wednesday, July 27, 2005 @ 07:00

A show of remorse by a Timmins resident accused of beating a man with a push broom and a chunk of cement persuaded a provincial court judge to give him a second chance.

Albert Mattinas, 24, pled guilty to assault with a weapon, break and enter, failure to comply with probation, and failure to appear for court and prints.

In total, Justice Ralph Carr imposed a 14-month prison term, less 63 days served, as well as 18 months probation. However, he recommended the accused spend his time at the Algoma Treatment Centre in Sault Ste. Marie to deal with his alcohol issues.

The assault charge stemmed from last May when Mattinas, who was intoxicated at the time, attacked a man by a taxi stand on Cedar Avenue South. The victim required stitches.

Mattinas was eventually fought off by some cab drivers and the victim’s friends and the police were called.

After the court addressed the charges, Mattinas read a prepared statement on his troubled life while growing up in Attawapiskat.

His hands shook as he recalled how his parents abandoned him when he was three and how he’s been in high school 11 years, but still hasn’t given up.

“When I think about what I’ve done, I have regrets and remorse,” he said from the prisoner’s box. “If I don’t drink, I see myself having a good life ... (but) I know I can’t do this alone.”

Mattinas said he’s been seeing an elder and a mental health counsellor while incarcerated at the Monteith Correctional Facility. He also said he has more to learn in school than in jail.

Assistant Crown attorney Wayne O’Hanley said in 14 years of practising law he had never heard a speech like that. He suggested the accused could just be a good actor, but he believed Mattinas spoke from the heart.

“This is a very well-spoken young man,” said O’Hanley. “I was prepared to say a lot of harsh things, but I don’t have the impulse to say them anymore.”

However, O’Hanley did warn that Mattinas could find himself being declared a dangerous offender if he doesn’t change his ways.

Carr was also touched by Mattinas’ story, but said the court needed to send a message since not everyone with a troubled past breaks the law.

“I don’t doubt for a minute your sincerity,” he said. “But we can’t take responsibility off of you and place it on your background.”

Man jailed for drunk driving

Drunken driving and failing to appear have landed a man jail time.

Roger Neamtu, 51, pleaded guilty to the charges of driving while impaired, refusing to give a breath sample, and failing to appear in court.

On Feb. 16, a citizen called Timmins Police after seeing Neamtu driving the wrong way in the opposite lane.

Neamtu eventually entered a parking lot where he slammed into a snowbank. The vehicle was still running when police helped him out of it.

The police report stated Neamtu had a strong stench of alcohol on him and his speech was slurred. Neamtu also refused to give a breath sample at the station.

Duty counsel Calvin Ferrier said Neamtu has been in and out of detox and is depressed about the whole situation.

“He wants to get this matter over with,” he said. “Clearly he requires some help for his drinking.”

Ferrier also said his client plans to attend college in the fall for computer programing.

Justice Ralph Carr sentenced Neamtu to 21 days in prison, 12 months probation and alcohol treatment.

Carr also suspended his licence for two years and cautioned if there’s a next time, he could kill somebody.

“Your life’s not over as long as you stay away from booze,” he said. “If not, your life may as well be over.”

Jilted lover restrained

A jilted lover who couldn’t get over his loss has received probation and a restraining order.

Peter Martel, 24, of Timmins, admitted to criminally harassing his common-law spouse on April 1 of this year.

The complainant, who had two children prior to the relationship, decided to leave Martel. However, he didn’t take no for an answer and pursued her repeatedly with phone calls and visits. Martel also threatened to kill himself if she didn’t take him back.

Martel’s lawyer Leonard Ellery said his client has since moved on and found a new relationship.

Justice Ralph Carr imposed a sentence of 18 months probation, during which time Martel must not communicate with victim.

He also must attend counselling and avoid loitering in any establishment frequented by the victim.

“It’s clear this young fellow has a serious problem,” said assistant Crown attorney Wayne O’Hanley.