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Man pleads guilty to 16 crimes, including breach of sex offender registry

'He struggles with addiction and needs to get that under control'; 29-year-old sentenced to eight months in jail followed by 12 months probation
The Sault Ste. Marie Courthouse.

Nelson Solomon's failure to comply with sex offender registry orders in 2021 were among 16 offences he pleaded guilty to Friday in a Sault Ste. Marie courtroom.

The 29-year-old man also admitted his involvement in crimes that included thefts, obstructing police, breaching probation, driving while prohibited, possession of stolen property and failing to attend court.

Ontario Court Justice Heather Mendes heard the accused was convicted of sexual assault on Oct. 22, 2021.

He was required under two court orders to register as a convicted sex offender with the Sault Ste. Marie Police Service. 

On Oct. 27, he provided police with his address, prosecutor Robert Skeggs said.

When officers went to the residence on Nov. 15 to verify this information, they were informed that Solomon had moved out 10 days earlier.

He should have reported his new address within seven days, Skeggs told the court.

Solomon pleaded guilty to two offences involving stolen vehicles, as well as other thefts.

On Jan. 16 of last year, city police officers spotted a pickup truck, with a multi-coloured paint job, in a Boundary Road parking lot.

It looked like someone had used a paint brush on it, the assistant Crown attorney said.

The cops ran the licence plate. They discovered it was registered to a green truck and had been reported stolen.

Solomon was asleep in the driver's seat of the 2017 pickup and had the key fob, Skeggs told the judge.

"He was very upset, but ultimately co-operated" with the officers.

The accused explained the truck belonged to a friend, but wasn't able to provide his buddy's name.

Solomon pleaded guilty to possession of stolen property over $5,000.

On May 15 of this year, Ontario Provincial Police officers were dispatched to Vankougnet Township where a white pickup had struck a guardrail.

The vehicle had been stolen from Joel Court in the Sault, was severely damaged and was inoperable, Skeggs said.

Solomon was behind the wheel, had fallen asleep, and hit the guardrail.

He pleaded guilty to stealing the vehicle as well as driving while prohibited.

On March 22, 2022, city police were called about a man who was going through vehicles in the Mill Creek Drive and Old Garden River Road area.

When officers apprehended Solomon, they found he had lottery tickets on him.

He insisted they belonged to him, Skeggs said.

"The owner had already signed his name on them," the assistant Crown attorney told the court. 

The tickets were taken from the victim's unlocked truck.

On Oct.16 of last year, a neighbour alerted a Village Court resident that someone was going through his truck.

He confronted the man, who ran away.

At 12:45 a.m, police spotted the accused in the area of Black Road and McNabb Street and arrested him for public intoxication.

Solomon had a black backpack, which officers searched and found items belonging to the complainant.

It also contained a black pipe, 2.5 grams of fentanyl and  2.9 grams of crystal meth.

He obstructed police by giving two false names to an officer.

On Friday, he also was convicted of four counts of breach of probation and four charges of missing court dates.

The Crown and defence lawyer Ken Walker jointly recommended that his client be sentenced to eight months jail, followed by 12 months probation.

Walker called their submission "reasonable" given the number of offences he had pleaded to, his background and substance abuse.

The defence cited a number of Gladue factors that the Garden River First Nation member has faced: family members who attended residential schools, poverty, and substance and emotional abuse.

Skeggs pointed to the need for general deterrence and denunciation.

Solomon has had "regular interaction with the police service" for a number of years and "here we are again in 2023."

When she imposed the sentence, Mendes called his guilty pleas an indication of remorse, and along with his background, is a mitigating factor.

Solomon's ongoing criminality, the number of offences and failure to follow court orders are aggravating, she said.

"He struggles with addiction and needs to get that under control."

With the enhanced credit of 1.5 days for each day he has spent in pre-sentence custody — the equivalent of 186 days — Solomon faced a further 54 days behind bars (as of Friday).

Mendes also placed him on probation for 12 months with conditions that include counselling and no contact with the victims of his property thefts.

He must also provide a DNA sample for the national database.

About the Author: Linda Richardson

Linda Richardson is a freelance journalist who has been covering Sault Ste. Marie's courts and other local news for more than 45 years.
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