B.C. man gets peace bond reduced after fighting lacrosse coach at kid's game | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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B.C. man gets peace bond reduced after fighting lacrosse coach at kid's game

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PORT COQUITLAM - A wrong look led to a heated argument and fight at a kids lacrosse game in the Lower Mainland, and one of the men involved has won an appeal in court, reducing his peace bond.

Christopher Maurice Whitfield was at his child's lacrosse game on May 29, 2016, when the assistant coach, only identified as Mr. Wiseman, of the team looked at him at some point during the game, according to a written decision in the B.C. Supreme Court.

That resulted in Whitfield making "profane and provocative" statements. The two men approached each other and a fight broke out, although it's not clear who threw the first punch.

In August of last year, Provincial Court judge T.S. Woods tossed out a joint submission by Crown counsel and Whitfield's defence lawyer, suggesting a peace bond of six months, instead imposing the bond for 12 months.

"Mr. Whitfield and Mr. Wiseman took their private disagreement and chose to put it on display in a very physical way at a children’s sporting event," Woods said in his decision.

But in reviewing the decision, the B.C. Supreme Court decided Woods had attributed blame for the incident almost entirely to Whitfield. Woods said in his decision that the joint submission was unfit as it had no rehabilitative element in it.

"If all it takes to actuate aggressive behaviour by Mr. Whitfield is for someone with whom he is in conflict to look at him, one wonders what kind of internal controls Mr. Whitfield has at his disposal to constrain and limit outward manifestations of ill will toward those who he finds himself in disagreement with," Woods said.

Supreme Court Justice Trevor Armstrong wrote in the appeal decision that Woods should not have departed from the joint submission, and the judge erred by doing so. He also erred by failing to give Whitfield the opportunity to respond or withdraw his acceptance of the peace bond once the joint submission was turned down, Armstrong said.

Overall, Armstrong determined Woods breached the principles of procedural fairness, denied Whitfield natural justice, inappropriately departed from the joint submission, unreasonably imposed criminal sentencing terms and imposed conditions that were not justifiably connected to his behaviour and propensity to offend again.

The original order was quashed and the six-month peace bond was put in place which includes no contact with Wiseman.


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