P.E.I. man who failed to self-isolate for COVID sentenced to 2 years probation

·3 min read
Lawyer Derek Bondt says he and his client, Javan Nsangira, are relieved he won't have a criminal record. (Brian Higgins/CBC - image credit)
Lawyer Derek Bondt says he and his client, Javan Nsangira, are relieved he won't have a criminal record. (Brian Higgins/CBC - image credit)

A P.E.I. man who failed to self-isolate while he had COVID-19 was sentenced Thursday in P.E.I. Supreme Court to two years of probation.

Javan Nsangira, 23, had pleaded guilty at an earlier court appearance in September to two counts of common nuisance, for failing to self-isolate and endangering the public.

Justice Tracey Clements handed him a conditional discharge, which means he won't have a criminal record and won't face deportation.

Nsangira is studying business administration at UPEI on a student visa and court heard he hopes to go on and do his master's in international business.

Court heard Friday he was struggling with mental health issues last summer, brought on by his positive diagnosis.

He told justice officials he believes he lost friends and his job, and received threats all because he tested positive.

Nsangira's lawyer Derek Bondt told CBC News after the sentencing that a criminal record would have been devastating for his client.

"Being here on a student visa, there certainly was the implication that a criminal record could have on his ability to stay in the country," said Bondt.

"So now, that the decision has come out with a conditional discharge, we're very happy with that outcome and he looks forward to moving forward with his life," he said.

Nsangira and Bondt consult outside the courtroom during a court appearance in January.
Nsangira and Bondt consult outside the courtroom during a court appearance in January.(Brian Higgins/CBC)

"We're certainly happy with the court's recognition of both the role that mental health played in the case and as well the implications on immigration," Bondt said.

Last summer, after he tested positive for COVID-19, he was ordered by public health officials twice to self-isolate, but he failed to do that.

He has since apologized for his actions.

The Crown prosecutor had recommended a criminal conviction, citing the danger to the public that came from Nsangira's actions.

Mr. Nsangira put those people in harm's way. — Chief Justice Tracey Clements

In handing down the sentence, Justice Tracey Clements acknowledged that.

"These are very serious circumstances … the situation remains precarious. Many in our community are vulnerable and our front-line workers are still at risk. Mr. Nsangira put those people in harm's way," she said.

However, the judge accepted submissions that his mental health at the time was a factor in his actions.

"I have concluded his mental health impacts on his moral blameworthiness," said Clements.

Court heard the man's mental health is now under control.

The judge said Nsangira has already spent two months in custody.

In addition to probation, Clements sentenced him to 100 hours of community service work. She also ordered him to write letters of apology to police, security and public health nursing, and to pay restitution to RCMP and Charlottetown city police.

Nsangira will be on probation for two years. If he stays out of trouble during that time he won't have a criminal record.

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