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Attack on woman involved choking, threats and broken finger

Man doesn't have criminal record, but judge says actions "are quite concerning" and aggravating
The Sault Ste. Marie Courthouse is pictured in this file photo.

A Sault Ste. Marie man's attack on an ex-girlfriend as she was walking to her home on a spring afternoon involved "a significant degree of violence," a judge noted Friday.

Frederick Murray grabbed the woman by the throat, twisted her arm, fractured a finger and threatened to kill her.

The 30-year-old man pleaded guilty to commiting assault by choking, assault and mischief for damaging her phone.

He also was convicted of threatening to kill her with a knife during an incident that occurred between Jan.1 and Feb. 28.

Ontario Court Justice Romuald Kwolek heard the woman was walking along Wallace Terrrace on April 12 when Murray attacked her.

A person, who witnessed the incident, gave her a ride home, and the victim spoke with police shortly after 1:30 p.m., assistant Crown attorney Blair Hagan said.

She later was taken to hospital where a doctor confirmed she had suffered a broken finger.

The prosecutor and defence lawyer Ken Walker jointly recommended that Murray receive a six-month conditional sentence (home confinement) followed by two years probation.

Murray doesn't have a criminal record, but his actions "are quite concerning" and aggravating, Hagan said.

Walker told the court his client's "involvement with the complainant is over" and there is "no relationship between them."

When he imposed sentence, Kwolek called the violence, particularly in a domestic context, an aggravating factor.

He cited Murray's fairly early guilty pleas as mitigating, given the backlogs in the courts caused by COVID,

Such crimes can lead to custodial sentences, the judge said, adding he is satisfied that the joint recommendation is appropriate

During the first three months of his sentence, Murray will be under house arrest.

He can only leave his residence for medical emergencies and with the prior written approval, which he must carry with him, of his sentence supervisor.

Murray also has a further exception, which permits him to be out of his home for four hours on Thursdays to obtain the necessities of life.

During the second three months, he will have a 7-p.m.-to-7 a.m. curfew.

Throughout this sentence, he can have no contact with the complainant, must not be within 50 metres of her and must take any recommended counselling.

As well, he can't possess any weapons or have any alcohol or other intoxicating substances.

"This is incarceration in your home," Kwolek told him.

Once he completes the custodial portion of his sentence, Murray will be on probation for two years with similar no contact and counselling conditions, including a domestic violence program.

The judge also imposed a three-year weapons prohibition and ordered Murray to provide a DNA sample for the national database. 

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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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