RNC officer sentenced to 4 months in jail for assaulting former intimate partner
RNC officer Noelle Laite has been sentenced to four months in jail followed by a year of probation for assaulting her former intimate partner and causing bodily harm.
Judge Wayne Gorman delivered the verdict in provincial court in Corner Brook, reading out the key points from a lengthy sentencing decision.
"In this case, the gravity of the offences committed by Ms. Laite are obvious," said Gorman.
Laite wore a coat with the hood up and hunched forward as she entered the courtroom, where she sat silently during the proceedings. Once the verdict was delivered, the sheriff immediately handcuffed Laite and led her into custody.
In early January, Laite was convicted on one count each of assault and assault causing bodily harm. The assaults took place between September 2020 and January 2022, when the provincial serious-incident response team began investigating Laite. Following her conviction, Laite was suspended without pay from her job as a police officer.
The sentence is more than what either the Crown prosecutor or Laite's defence requested. Crown asked for a conditional sentence followed by a year's probation, while the defence suggested a suspended sentence with 18 to 24 months of probation — or, if Gorman felt some form of confinement was necessary, a conditional sentence.
But Gorman rejected the sentencing suggestions.
"In this case, the crimes are too grave and the offender's degree of responsibility too high for a conditional sentence to be appropriate," said Gorman.
In sentencing Laite, Gorman referenced a recent decision by the Ontario Court of Appeal that described "an increase of society's awareness of the prevalence of domestic violence and the evils it creates." Following the decision, changes to Canada's Criminal Code of Canada were made to allow stiffer sentencing in cases in which violence is committed against an intimate partner.
Laite's probation conditions include having no contact with the victim of her assaults and complying with all directions given by her probation officer, including any directions to seek counselling.