Guilty pleas can't be withdrawn because of 'confusion' - InfoNews

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Guilty pleas can't be withdrawn because of 'confusion'

July 10, 2014 - 1:39 PM

KAMLOOPS – A Kamloops Supreme Court judge dismissed a man who wants to take back the guilty plea he made because he was “confused” and didn’t understand his criminal record could lead to a harsher sentence.

Last week, Craig Robert Cecil Ferguson learned he will face sentencing on charges stemming from an assault he committed two years ago on a woman in Merritt.

While waiting in 23-hour lockup awaiting his trial, Ferguson chose to plead guilty and came to court to officially make his statement.

In this case, Crown could potentially seek a long-term offender sentence including a dangerous offender sentence due to Ferguson’s lengthy criminal record.

Being labeled a dangerous offender can lead to an indefinite jail sentence. The designation is for violent offenders with a high risk to re-offend.

After discovering he may face a heavier penalty, Ferguson filed an affidavit.

“I did not completely understand what I was pleading guilty to,” he said.

Ferguson said he suffers from Attention Deficit Disorder and when he doesn’t have his medication his thought process becomes “confused.” He said he was not on the proper medication on the day he submitted his pleas. Ferguson mentioned his solitary confinement added to his troubles and led to suicide attempts. 

Justice William Ehrcke dismissed Fergusons claims.

“He was acknowledging responsibility for what he had done, that he was giving up the right to have a trial, and that the judge would impose a sentence as a result of which, given his record, he knew could be a substantial sentence,” he said in his reasons for judgment.

To contact a reporter for this story, email, or call 250-319-7494. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

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