A 16-year-old girl with a lengthy history of assaulting workers in the group home she resides has been sentenced to five months in custody after pleading guilty to more charges stemming from violent behaviour.
"Any sentence has to bring home to you that actions have consequences, and when you choose to assault people on a regular basis, there will be consequences for that behaviour," Judge John Combs told the girl on Monday.
"You were certainly warned on numerous occasions that this would happen, and yet you made some bad decisions. Hopefully you’ll make better decisions in the future."
The teen, who cannot be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, pleaded guilty in Brandon provincial court to numerous charges, including assault, uttering threats, possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose and public mischief.
The charges stem from incidents as far back as October 2018, Crown attorney Kaley Tschetter said, right after the teen was released on probation for previous similar offences.
"She has continued with this inappropriate and violent behaviour almost immediately … she was back assaulting someone within a month of her sentencing," Tschetter said.
The teen assaulted workers at the group home she resided on multiple occasions — hitting, punching or spitting at them. She also threatened to kill them a few times.
On one occasion, she came up behind her probation officer after their meeting and shoved her by the back of her head, Tschetter said.
Most concerning, however, are the instances where the teen threatened people with a knife, Tschetter said.
Police were called to the group home on Dec. 14 after the girl had pointed a folding pocket knife at another foster child who resided at a different home.
Officers arrested the teen without incident and found the knife stashed in the wall of her room, as well as a purple bandana with a large metal chain link inside of it wrapped as a weapon, Tschetter said.
A witness told police the girl pulled out the knife and ran at the other teen in an attempt to stab him in the chest, Tschetter said, but she was unsuccessful as staff had pushed him out of the way.
Then on June 13, things spiralled out of control when the girl became upset with a staff member because a cat she had brought home earlier had been removed from the home as pets were not allowed in the house, Tschetter said.
The teen started throwing food and other items around the kitchen, including a microwave, which she smashed on the ground and stomped on.
When the staff member tried to restrain the teen, she bit her on their forearm and refused to let go, Tschetter said.
When the staff member finally got free, the teen fled the residence.
The staff member went to the emergency room with a bite mark on her right lower arm, covered in blood, and wounds on her leg and left wrist, Tschetter said.
The teen then showed up at her school, where another employee tried to calm her down.
Noticing the teen was alone and had no support workers with her, the employee called management to let them know where the girl was, Tschetter said.
It was around the same time that one of the group home workers who witnessed the assault pulled up to the school in their vehicle, and the girl grabbed her belongings and ran across the street.
The teen then turned around and pulled a folding pocket knife out of her waistband and flipped open the four-inch blade, saying "I’m not f—king scared to use this, I’ve stabbed bitches before and I’ll f—king stab you too," Tschetter said.
The workers did not pursue her as they were seriously concerned the teen would use the knife to harm them.
The teen went missing for just under a month until police located her during a traffic stop.
"It’s extremely concerning that (the girl), after all of the other knife-related activity was once again in possession of a knife," Tschetter said. "She has demonstrated that her go-to when she is upset is to act in a violent manner and she has taken that out on all of the supports around her including her probation officer."
Defence lawyer Ellen McCarville told the court the teen has had a difficult life growing up, witnessing violence in the home and struggling with substance abuse from a young age.
The teen has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and struggles with other significant cognitive deficits, McCarville said, which can impact her problem-solving skills and contribute to her compulsive behaviour.
"A number of these offences are in relation and of consequence of her acknowledged crystal meth addiction," McCarville said. "She understands that this is a real issue for her and has expressed many times she wants to get clean and move forward."
Combs sentenced the teen to a total of five months’ custody — with a little more than three months to be served in jail and just under two months to be served under supervision in the community.
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