Austin Larocque assaulted several workers at Sault Area Hospital and a shelter at the former Verdi Hall` last summer, using his fists and medical equipment while doing so.
He swung an oxygen tank at one hospital worker and threw a second tank at another employee in the emergency department. Other tanks were thrown against a wall and medical carts at SAH on July 2, 2022
Larocque also damaged a hand sanitizing station before Sault Ste. Marie Police Service arrived. He then kicked and damaged a cruiser door.
Three days later he assaulted security guards at Verdi on Queen Street West, Ontario Court Justice John Condon heard Thursday. .
Police were called again when Laroque refused to leave the Verdi on July 5, 2022. He punched two security guards, said assistant Crown attorney Adrianna Mucciarelli.
Larocque did not go to John Howard Society’s bail supervision program as directed on July 7, 2022.
More trouble followed at the hospital on Oct. 7, 2022 when Larocque refused to leave. He was “yelling and fighting” in the emergency department, said Mucciarelli. Larocque threatened to shoot all staff in the emergency department. He put a security guard in a headlock and banged the man’s head on the floor. Six staff were needed to separate Larocque from the guard.
Larocque pleaded guilty to two counts assault with a weapon, multiple counts of assault mischief and failing to comply with a release order.
Condon accepted a joint position from Mucciarelli and defense counsel Sarah Tucci that Larocque serve seven months. He’s in a time served position with 157 days of pre-sentence custody. Larocque gets one-and-a-half days credit for each day he’s been incarcerated.
He’ll be on probation for 18 months. Larocque must get mental health and anger management counselling. He must avoid the Verdi hall and can’t go to the hospital unless he has a valid medical concern. Larocque must stay away from seven hospital staff, give a DNA sample and not have weapons for two years.
The 24-year-old man has severe mental health issues, said Tucci. He was diagnosed with schizophrenia, psychosis and psychotic outbreaks when he was 17. Larocque was not on medication when the incidents happened in 2022.
“He has since stabilized on medication and intends to continue with that treatment when he’s released,” said Tucci.
Larocque got help for anger management when he was in custody and is remorseful for what he did, Tucci added.
Condon acknowledged Larocque had “multiple mental-health challenges” in 2022.
“It’s troubling that the very people who were trying to help you are the people who were victims of your conduct on all of these occasions,” he said.
Condon is “pleased to hear” Larocque took programming at Algoma Treatment and Remand Centre “and that you’re receptive to supports upon your release
“Otherwise, you’ll just continually turn to the criminal justice system and that serves no one’s purpose, particularly yours.”
Larocque must attend Canadian Mental Health Association’s counselling centre at least twice a month during his probation.
“I want you connected with the CMHA regularly,” said Condon. “It addresses the root of the problem that got you here.”
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