McDiarmid refuses to attend his sentencing

A Dawson City man convicted of assaulting police officers refused to leave his cell to attend his sentencing hearing today. However, that hasn’t prevented the sentencing from going ahead.

A Dawson City man convicted of assaulting police officers refused to leave his cell to attend his sentencing hearing today.

However, that hasn’t prevented the sentencing from going ahead.

This morning Yukon Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Hughes sent a constable to the Whitehorse Correctional Centre to let Mark McDiarmid know he could show up for this sentencing hearing, appear from jail via a videoconference, or not show up at all. The sentencing would go ahead regardless.

McDiarmid again refused. According to Const. Faulkner, who spoke in court, McDiarmid told him that given his current state of mind and his hostility toward the prosecutor, it would be best for him not to come.

He told the constable he was more hostile than he was at his worst time, and that him coming to court could result in more charges being laid against him.

Justice Hughes found that McDiarmid had voluntarily chosen to be absent to impede or frustrate the court, and decided to continue the hearing.

The Crown is asking for four years in jail sentence for the five charges from 2011 that McDiarmid was convicted for – three counts of assaulting a police officer, one for mischief and one weapons offence.

The Crown prosecutor told the court that McDiarmid could deduct three years, five months and four days from the sentence for time served.

McDiarmid has been in custody since he was arrested on October 19, 2011, for attacking RCMP Sgt. Dave Wallace with a sledgehammer. Wallace was looking for McDiarmid as he had an outstanding warrant.

Crown prosecutor Jennifer Grandy told the court McDiarmid struck Wallace’s truck three times, including once on the windshield, above Wallace’s head.

Quoting the Mountie’s testimony, she said the attack was the most scary thing he encountered in his 24-year career as a police officer.

The following day McDiarmid went through a road stop set up by the RCMP, running over a spike belt.

He threw an unlit mason jar filled with gasoline at one of the police cars and then charged at two officers with a splitting maul, Grandy said.

The officers shot him, as he was coming towards them, with the splitting maul raised over his head.

The choice of weapon and the level of violence displayed are very serious, the prosecutor told the court.

“It is by luck, not by design that no police officer was injured,” Grandy said.

She also pointed out McDiarmid made threatening comments toward Sgt. Wallace during the court proceedings, stating he wanted to assault him, noting he had difficulty with people in authority or who disagreed with him.

“Police officers, probation officers… people in those positions will be at risk (when he is released),” she said.

McDiarmid has consistently refused to have a mental health evaluation and will most likely be released untreated, Grandy said.

It was also not possible to prepare a Gladue report as McDiarmid originally refused to sign a consent form.

Since the Supreme Court decision in R. v. Gladue, courts are required to take into consideration an offender’s aboriginal ancestry and the history of colonialism.

McDiarmid was born in Mayo, according to his testimony, but decided to transfer from the Na-Cho Nyak Dun to the Tr’ondek Hwech’in First Nation. He moved permanently to Dawson City when he was 11, according to the Crown.

The judge is set to rule on the matter Tuesday morning.

Contact Pierre Chauvin at