A father who beat up a child and family services worker and threw him down a flight of stairs has avoided jail after making an effort to become a better man.
The CFS worker was attacked as he asked if the offender’s daughters if they were OK during a scheduled visit to the family home.
“This fellow was just doing his job,” Judge Shauna Hewitt-Michta told the father during sentencing.
The 47-year-old offender can’t be named because it would identify his young daughters, aged 12 years and 11 years, and it’s illegal for media to identify children in CFS care.
CFS became involved with the family after they received a report of neglect — that the unemployed, single father had been playing on his computer “all the time” and there was no food in the house.
A CFS worker stopped at the family’s home on June 6 and the father knew that the worker was coming, Crown attorney Yaso Mathu told court.
However, when the worker arrived, the father was angry and told him he couldn’t talk to his daughters.
Sensing trouble, the worker then tried to remedy the situation by telling the father he was going to leave but paused to ask the daughters if they were OK. The father reacted by attacking the worker from behind and shoving him down the stairs that led to the apartment.
The worker bounced off of the landing and his glasses broke from the impact. The worker then got up and told his attacker “you’re dead.”
The father then attacked again. He repeatedly punched and kneed the worker in the face.
The worker ran from the home in his socks with a bloody nose and broken glasses. He managed to drive himself to hospital.
Police indicated that the victim’s nose had been fractured.
However, court heard that the father has made big strides to improve life for himself and his daughters since the attack.
CFS provided him with food vouchers and he has made use of the food bank.
The father had partly blamed stress for his attack, but has since completed anger management.
He’s also returned to school, and CFS has helped him involve his daughters in activities such as skating and horseback riding.
In addition, he has seen a psychologist and psychiatrist and is taking medication for a mental health condition.
Mathu recommended a jail sentence but, given the father’s efforts at rehabilitation, she was willing to recommend a conditional sentence (house arrest) which would allow him to continue to care for his girls.
Defence lawyer Philip Sieklicki also asked for a conditional sentence, citing his client’s rough childhood that included strappings by his mother.
Hewitt-Michta agreed to spare the father from jail and placed him on six months house arrest with 75 hours of community service work. That will be followed by one year of probation.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition January 9, 2013