A Sarnia man says death threats hurled at his neighbours “weren’t serious”.
Jacob Currie, 38, appeared in court expected to plead guilty to several charges from an incident earlier this year. But his appearance didn’t go quite as planned.
Currie readily admitted he drove drunk the afternoon of Jan. 15. But he argued subsequent comments to his neighbours were taken out of context and perhaps even qualified as self-defence.
Currie’s saga began shortly after noon at the Shoppers Drug Mart on Indian Road. He became enraged with staff following a mix up over a package delivery. Currie continued berating them as he stormed out of the store.
Workers followed him outside and saw him driving out of the parking lot. He narrowly missed hitting several vehicles before screeching into the opposite lane of traffic and tearing away.
Currie arrived at his Front Street home where his poor driving caught the attention of a male neighbour. It was alleged by Crown Attorney Suzanne LaSha that Currie began yelling death threats at the man in response. When a female neighbour heard the commotion and said she called police, Currie said he’d “kill her as well.”
The accused disputed this reading of the facts in court. “I was yelling but I wasn’t yelling at anyone in particular. I just actually got off the phone with someone I knew personally and they really riled me up,” says Currie.
“They weren’t serious,” he says of the threats.
Currie went on to say his neighbour was coming at him with a rake and any comments were meant to ward him off. Currie says he didn’t threaten his female neighbour.
The difference of opinion between Currie and the Crown over what was said meant Justice Krista Leszczynski couldn’t render a verdict. She says there’s too much discrepancy in the stories and it’s possible Currie was indeed trying to protect himself from an aggressive neighbour.
The justice says the death threat charges would be put over to a later date.
What wasn’t in dispute was the extent of Currie’s impairment that afternoon. After Sarnia Police arrived and arrested Currie he registered a blood alcohol reading of .230.
“I wasn’t drinking that day… I was drinking excessively the night before and didn’t have much sleep,” explained Currie of his nearly triple the legal limit reading. He also says he didn’t think his driving was really that bad.
“I was just in a bad state… I’ve never had any accidents, I don’t like drinking and driving at all.”
LaSha asked for an elevated $2,500 fine, nothing Currie’s driving was “erratic in nature and caused a great risk to other persons and vehicles in the roadway and in the area around it. Also the level of the readings which were very high.”
Leszczynski modified the final number slightly and fined Currie $2,200. Along with a $660 victim fine surcharge he’ll pay $2,860 total punishment.
He also received a one year driving ban.
Alex Kurial, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Independent