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Man pleads guilty to assault

By: Jordan Ross

Posted: 03/20/2017 12:30 PM

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A man who expressed remorse and said he was swearing off alcohol was given more jail time and supervised probation by a sympathetic but firm presiding judge.

Russell Marc Joseph Peloquin entered guilty pleas to one count of assault and one count of breaching a no-contact order in Steinbach court last Thursday for an incident on Jan. 4.

Judge Ken Champagne was presented with a joint recommendation from Crown attorney Boyd McGill and defence lawyer Mitch Mraovic which called for a 10 day jail sentence and 12 months of supervised probation. Conditions to complete counselling, keep the peace, and avoid contacting the complainant were also incorporated, with McGill leaving a no-alcohol condition to the discretion of Peloquin’s probation officer.

Peloquin, a Winnipegger who lived in Steinbach as recently as last summer, possessed a criminal record that included several alcohol-related charges.

"A dispute arose. Why? Frankly, who cares? It doesn’t matter. What matters is that it ended in violence again," McGill said.

Mraovic, however, painted a different picture, referencing a scuffle involving shoving, pushing, and a headlock that left the complainant with a bloody lip.

"It was the outreach of the victim that led to that no-contact breach, although he did embrace that outreach when he shouldn’t have," Mraovic added.

Peloquin was a victim too, Mraovic argued, describing incidents of abuse from his client’s past that led down a path of alcohol dependency, anxiety, depression, and two suicide attempts in the past decade.

"I know that I made a mistake," said Peloquin. "This guilt and remorse…to me is worse than a jail sentence. It’s eating me alive…I’ll never ever touch a bottle again."

He described how he had been drinking for 27 of his 39 years and explained he had been working on obtaining his Class 1 driver’s license before his run-ins with the law.

"It’s clear from hearing you that you recognize your problem," said Champagne, who acknowledged the impact of past abuse suffered by Peloquin.

"You don’t have much of a criminal record, sir, but it’s all related to alcohol," the judge observed.

"You’re cleaning up your matters and you’re putting this behind you. It’s all about the future. Good luck to you," said Champagne, who agreed to the joint recommendation, plus a $200 victim fine surcharge.

Peloquin is expected to return to court at a later date to face charges of assault, uttering threats, mischief, and weapons possession connected to a July 2016 incident in Steinbach. McGill noted Peloquin will remain in custody because of these earlier charges, unless he seeks bail via his counsel.

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