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'You're walking on eggshells': Man gets house arrest for assaults

36-year-old Goulais River resident pleaded guilty to two counts of assault, two counts of mischief and two counts of breaching court orders
The Sault Ste. Marie Courthouse is pictured in this file photo.

Michael Leed will spend three months under house arrest for assaulting a partner during alcohol-fueled domestic disputes.

The 36-year-old Goulais River resident pleaded guilty Tuesday to two counts of assault, two counts of mischief and two counts of breaching court orders.

The offences stemmed from incidents that occurred in 2022 and February of this year.

Ontario Court Justice Romuald Kwolek heard the accused and the complainant had known each other for many years.

They had been dating for seven months when Sault Ste. Marie police responded to a 911 call on Aug. 31 of last year.

The couple had been drinking and became embroiled in an argument, assistant Crown attorney Adrianna Mucciarelli said.

During the argument, he hit her in the face with a closed fist, giving her a black eye.

She punched him in the face, causing his nose to bleed.

They continued to argue until police arrived.

The second assault occurred earlier this year on Feb. 6.

Police were again contacted about a domestic dispute involving the pair.

When the cops arrived at the home, they found Leed had assaulted the complainant.

The accused also had damaged a door, which had been broken off its hinges and had holes in it.

At the time, Leed was on undertaking not to go to the Turner Avenue residence.

A second mischief conviction stemmed from an April 2022 incident, where the couple was drinking at an Airport Road home with the resident.

Leed became upset and punched the man several times.

The victim left his residence and climbed through a window into his truck.

Leed followed him outside, striking the vehicle numerous times with a baseball bat and causing nearly $4,000 in damages.

On Nov. 5, Ontario Provincial Police were advised of several dropped 911 calls from a Fenwick Township residence.

A man and woman could be heard arguing, and "he was saying get out of my house," the prosecutor told the court.

When officers arrived, Leed told them the woman had left on foot 10 minutes earlier.

The pair had been drinking. He had made a comment about one of her friends and an argument ensued.

Leed breached an undertaking that prohibited him from communicating with her.

The Crown and defence lawyer Sarah Tucci jointly called for a 90-day conditional sentence, which would be served in the community, followed by 18 months probation.

Mucciarelli cited the domestic violence and Leed's criminal record, which includes an impaired driving and probation breach convictions, as aggravating factors.

The victim also was subject to charges for the altercations, she told Kwolek.

His guilty pleas show remorse and saved court time, the prosecutor said.

Tucci said her client is a single father, who has sole custody of his son.

He "has struggled with an addiction to alcohol since he was a young teen," she told the court. "Alcohol was involved in these incidents." 

Leed is employed as a contractor and has the means to pay restitution for the damage to the truck, as well as a victim surcharge, Tucci said.

"I accept responsibility for my actions," he responded, when Kwolek asked if he had anything he wanted to say.

"I'm very sorry, Your Honour."

When he imposed the sentence, the judge noted Leed's limited criminal record and his issue with substance abuse.

"Clearly alcohol didn't mix very well with you and your relationship," Kwolek said.

"Violence was perpetrated by both of you."

During his conditional sentence, Leed will have a 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew.

This is "incarceration or jail in your household that allows you to go to work" and be out for periods of time, Kwolek said, describing the conditions as "not that restrictive."

This is going to be a struggle, he suggested, because Leed can't consume alcohol for 90 days or he will end up behind bars.

During the time he's confined to his residence, Leed can only leave for medical energencies, hockey tournaments with his son or with the written approval of his sentence supervisor.

He can have no contact with the victim.

"You're walking on eggshells," Kwolek warned.

As well, he is not to possess any weapons, alcohol and other intoxicating substances.

Leed must also take any recommended assessment and counselling for anger management and substance abuse.

"If you breach any of the conditions you may spend the rest of the time in custody," the judge told him.

Leed will be on probation for 18 months with conditions that include no contact with the complainants.

He must pay $3,935 restitution to the truck owner by the end of the probation order.

Kwolek also imposed a $600 victim surcharge, and gave him two years to pay this penalty.

"I want you to pay the restitution first."

Leed is prohibited from possessing weapons for five years and must provide a DNA sample for the national registry.

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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