Watson Lake man avoids federal penitentiary for the second time

A 30-year-old Watson Lake man, convicted of assault, avoided federal penitentiary for the second time.

A 30-year-old Watson Lake man, convicted of assault, avoided federal penitentiary for the second time.

Yukon territorial court judge Michael Block sentenced Randy Lutz to 30 months in jail Wednesday for assaulting his former partner, Tanya Charlie, and his aunt. He was also convicted of breaching his probation terms.

A kidnapping charge was dropped by the Crown.

With time served, Lutz will have 19 and a half months left at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre, followed by three years of probation.

Sentences longer than two years are automatically served in federal penitentiaries.

Crown prosecutor Eric Marcoux told the judge he was first looking at a three- to four-year sentence, given the severity of the crime, but decided for a lesser sentence that allows longer probation. Federal sentences do not come with probation.

“It’s in the best interest of the public and Mrs. Charlie,” he said.

In the early morning of Jan. 1, 2015, Charlie was drinking at her father’s home.

Around 6 a.m. Lutz arrived and asked her to go drink at his father’s place.

When she refused he “went psycho,” according to a statement of facts read by the prosecutor.

He pulled her from the house, kicking her. She ran toward Lutz’s aunt’s house, banging on the window.

When Lutz’s aunt came out, Lutz punched his aunt and threatened to get his gun.

While he said he doesn’t remember the night of the assaults because of how intoxicated he was, he recognized it was his doing, the court heard.

In 2013 Lutz, was sentenced to 32 months for kidnapping Charlie.

At the time, judge Donald Luther decided against sending him to a federal penitentiary, explaining that staying at WCC would allow Lutz to follow programming and deal with his substance abuse and violence issues. Again, the sentence minus time served worked out to less than two years.

Defence lawyer Melissa Atkinson noted Wednesday that despite Lutz’s important cognitive deficit, he was “doing very well at WCC.”

She said Lutz suffered from family violence, part of the colonial legacy.

“Further displacing him from the Yukon won’t help,” she said.

The judge noted Lutz also had severe alcohol abuse issues.

“Alcohol makes you very impulsive,” Block said.

“You’re still a young man, you have room to grow, (but) you need to take a different way,” he said.

The judge also ordered that during his probation Lutz not come in contact with either Charlie or his aunt.

When the Crown asked that Lutz be ordered to abstain from alcohol when released, the judge expressed concerns this might land him back in jail rapidly. Lutz said he started drinking as a teenager and that he is often around people who drink in Watson Lake.

Block reduced the alcohol abstinence requirement to the first four months of his probation.

Lutz will also be under a curfew during his first year of probation.

He has an extensive criminal record, with more than 22 convictions, including six assaults since 2008.

In 2009, he was sentenced for a 2007 assault on Charlie, among other charges. Justice of the peace Dean Cameron told Lutz at the time he was at a turning point in his life.

“There are a lot of things that seem to be lining up for you which, if you can take advantage of them, may ultimately be able to turn your life around,” he said at the time.

“Should you fail to follow through on your commitment to do so, then you find it more and more difficult to convince the Court further down the road that you are now ready for change.”

In 2013, Luther made a similar plea to him.

“You have some really good people who are helping you, and I want you to do your utmost to turn things around; otherwise, it is just going to be a wasted life for you, coming in and out of jail,” he said.

“You have an excellent opportunity now to reverse that, and I truly hope that you do that.”

Contact Pierre Chauvin at

pierre.chauvin@yukon-news.com

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