A man will serve 14 weekends in prison for threatening to punch a police officer during an arrest and was given a four-digit fine for his part in a bar fight.
In Inuvik Territorial Court Dec. 8, John Blake, 46, of Fort McPherson, pleaded guilty to assault and uttering threats. Judge Robert Gorin fined him $1,000 and sentenced him to one month in prison to be served on weekends, which with 16 days pre-trial credit means he has 14 left to go.
Gorin also granted an exemption for Dec. 25, allowing Blake to spend the holiday with his family.
“I own up to my responsibilities and actions,” said Blake in his defense. “I have quite a lengthy criminal record and I do have an alcohol problem.
“I owe my apologies to the court, judge and RCMP for what happens when I drink. If it wasn’t for alcohol, I wouldn’t be standing here.”
Crown prosecutor Levi Karpa told court Blake was at the Mad Trapper bar on Oct. 30, 2019 when he ran into a friend. Throughout the night, Blake repeatedly asked his friend to buy him alcohol, which she refused, growing annoyed as the night went on.
When the bar closed at 2 a.m., Blake stepped out for a cigarette and the woman stepped out to confront him and called him a “crackhead.” A struggle ensued and both Blake and the women grabbed each other’s coats by the arms and the woman punched him.
Blake responded by punching her back repeatedly with a closed fist in her head. Eventually, a passer-by attempted to break the two up, but gave up after being punched in the skull himself. Blake continued to punch the woman, who was still gripping on to his coat and was actively ducking shots, until another passer-by managed to intervene and break the two brawlers up.
“It was a sustained assault in which a bystander attempted to intervene,” said Karpa, who added the woman did not report any serious injuries from the bar fight.
Duty counsel Nicola Langille said Blake expressed remorse for how badly the fight escalated.
“He thought it was self-defence, but admits he took things too far,” she said. “I have no doubt nearly all of his offending is related to alcohol.”
Blake’s problems with the law followed him to Fort McPherson, where on Sept. 5, 2020 RCMP received a call about a fight in progress at a home. Upon arriving, they were informed Blake was fighting with a woman and the homeowner wanted them removed.
Police asked Blake and his opponent, both of which were intoxicated, to leave the building. They both refused and were arrested for mischief.
Blake continued to not cooperate with police, pulling away from them and refusing to follow instructions or get into the police vehicle. He then began to threaten one of the cops. Police eventually physically forced him into the cruiser, at which point he threatened the officer again.
Noting he did not view intermittent sentences to be lenient, Judge Gorin said custody was required to deter people from making threats to police and peace officers.
“This sort of conduct is not something police should expect to receive,” said Gorin. “It’s not part of their job.”