Court hears from Nehass’s lawyer

The lawyer representing Michael Nehass says the Crown hasn't done enough to warrant having her client assessed to be a dangerous offender or long-term offender.

The lawyer representing Michael Nehass says the Crown hasn’t done enough to warrant having her client assessed to be a dangerous offender or long-term offender.

Even though the threshold is low when it comes to ordering someone be psychologically assessed, it is not enough to just point at their criminal record and leave it at that, Sarah Rauch told Yukon Supreme Court judge Scott Brooker on Friday.

Brooker has reserved his decision whether to order an assessment. He said he’ll issue a written decision soon, but did not provide a specific date.

Nehass was convicted by a jury in May of forcible confinement, aggravated assault and breaching his probation after attacking a woman in Watson Lake in December 2011. He plans to appeal.

The 31-year-old has been in jail since then, spending most of his time in some form of segregation, away from the general jail population.

Being labelled a dangerous or long-term offender would impact Nehass’s eventual sentence. A long-term offender can get up to 10 years probation after he or she is released. A dangerous offender could be locked up indefinitely.

Last week’s arguments aren’t about whether Nehass deserves either of those labels. They’re just about whether the assessment should be ordered. Then it will be up to the Crown to decide what to do.

Rauch has filed an application with the court to have everything put on hold until the court hears arguments over whether the way Nehass has been treated at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre violates his rights.

That has been scheduled for two weeks starting in February.

She officially filed the charter application last week.

Nehass made headlines around the country in 2014 when he was ordered to a video court appearance. Guards brought him in shackled and naked.

The charter application argues that his time in confinement and being brought to court naked “have directly threatened and undermined his physical and psychological integrity.”

It says Nehass doesn’t have faith in the justice system, the government or the state’s ability to keep people safe.

Nehass has spent almost all of his adult life in jail.

Prosecutor Eric Marcoux says he has 40 convictions, 16 of which are for some type of violence. Many of the offences occurred while Nehass was serving time, he said.

He’s shown a failure to be able to restrain his behaviour, persistent aggression and a likelihood that he could do it again, Marcoux said. That’s enough to at least order an assessment.

Rauch argued that there is not enough detail on the record about exactly what happened to lead to those convictions. The nature of the crimes has to be explored further. The Crown hasn’t done that, she said.

Contact Ashley Joannou at

ashleyj@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Children’s performer Claire Ness poses for a photo for the upcoming annual Pivot Festival. “Claire Ness Morning” will be a kid-friendly performance streamed on the morning of Jan. 30. (Photo courtesy Erik Pinkerton Photography)
Pivot Festival provides ‘delight and light’ to a pandemic January

The festival runs Jan. 20 to 30 with virtual and physically distant events

The Boulevard of Hope was launched by the Yukon T1D Support Network and will be lit up throughout January. It is aimed at raising awareness about Yukoners living with Type 1 diabetes. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Boulevard of Hope sheds light on Type 1 diabetes

Organizers hope to make it an annual event

City of Whitehorse city council meeting in Whitehorse on Oct. 5, 2020. An updated council procedures bylaw was proposed at Whitehorse city council’s Jan. 18 meeting that would see a few changes to council meetings and how council handles certain matters like civil emergencies. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Whitehorse procedures bylaw comes forward

New measures proposed for how council could deal with emergencies

A Yukon survey querying transportation between communities has already seen hundreds of participants and is the latest review highlighting the territory’s gap in accessibility. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Multiple reports, survey decry lack of transportation between Yukon communities

A Community Travel survey is the latest in a slew of initiatives pointing to poor accessibility

Mobile vaccine team Team Balto practises vaccine clinic set-up and teardown at Vanier Catholic Secondary School. Mobile vaccine teams are heading out this week to the communities in order to begin Moderna vaccinations. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Mobile vaccine teams begin community vaccinations

“It’s an all-of-government approach”

A file photo of grizzly bear along the highway outside Dawson City. Yukon conservation officers euthanized a grizzly bear Jan. 15 that was originally sighted near Braeburn. (Alistair Maitland/Yukon News file)
Male grizzly euthanized near Braeburn

Yukon conservation officers have euthanized a grizzly bear that was originally sighted… Continue reading

Mayor Dan Curtis listens to a councillor on the phone during a city council meeting in Whitehorse on April 14, 2020. Curtis announced Jan. 14 that he intends to seek nomination to be the Yukon Liberal candidate for Whitehorse Centre in the 2021 territorial election. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Whitehorse mayor seeking nomination for territorial election

Whitehorse mayor Dan Curtis is preparing for a run in the upcoming… Continue reading

Gerard Redinger was charged under the <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> with failing to self-isolate and failing to transit through the Yukon in under 24 hours. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Man ticketed $1,150 at Wolf Creek campground for failing to self-isolate

Gerard Redinger signed a 24-hour transit declaration, ticketed 13 days later

Yukon Energy, Solvest Inc. and Chu Níikwän Development Corporation are calling on the city for a meeting to look at possibilities for separate tax rates or incentives for renewable energy projects. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Tax changes sought for Whitehorse energy projects

Delegates call for separate property tax category for renewable energy projects

Yukon University has added seven members to its board of governors in recent months. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
New members named to Yukon U’s board of governors

Required number of board members now up to 17

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Your Northern regulatory adventure awaits!

“Your Northern adventure awaits!” blared the headline on a recent YESAB assessment… Continue reading

Yukoner Shirley Chua-Tan is taking on the role of vice-chair of the social inclusion working group with the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences’ oversight panel and working groups for the autism assessment. (Submitted)
Canadian Academy of Health Sciences names Yukoner to panel

Shirley Chua-Tan is well-known for a number of roles she plays in… Continue reading

Most Read