After he brutally beat a fellow North Slave Correctional Complex (NSCC) inmate at random, Jason Mark Bard told jail guards he punched and pummeled the man with a hardened plastic cup just to “get their attention.”
A three hour standoff with Corrections staff ensued. The attack left blood on the “alpha pod” floor. The victim was left with a concussion.
Just three months after the jailhouse attack, in December of last year, Bard, 28, triggered another standoff with NSCC guards.
It lasted seven hours.
Bard, the court heard during a sentencing hearing in a Yellowknife court Friday, was being housed in a cell normally reserved for female inmates. When Bard learned more female inmates were due to arrive, he, for reasons unclear, removed the shower head within his cell and let the water run, causing significant damage to the building. Holding cells were flooded, and the unfettered flow seeped to the floor below, causing even more damage. Jail staff estimated the flooding caused close to $25,000 in damages.
When jail guards approached Bard’s cell, he told them he’d fashioned weapons out of a sprinkler head and electrical siding. If the guards came in, Bard said, he’d stab them in areas not protected by their uniforms.
A negotiator was called in to bring an end to the standoff.
The standoffs weren’t a first for Bard. A similar incident with police in Inuvik is what landed the Edmonton-born man in the Yellowknife jail.
In September, after responding to a report of a fight near Our Lady of Victory Church, known locally as the Igloo Church, police engaged Bard in a foot chase following a complaint he had sprayed another man with bear spray.
Mounties closed in on Bard at an apartment building parking lot, where he pointed a can of bear spray at two officers. The Mounties drew their guns and demanded Bard drop the weapon. He didn’t comply, and an officer was forced to tackle Bard to the ground, where he was handcuffed and arrested.
At the time, Bard was bound by both a recognizance and a probation order stemming from offences committed in Alberta. He was barred from possessing any weapons.
Police found crack cocaine – an amount not disclosed by RCMP – along with a knife, $400 in cash and two cell phones on Bard’s person. An officer later stated the spray was deployed, with some making contact with his uniform.
“It’s fortunate you’re alive,” said sentencing Judge Donovan Frederick Molloy, noting the danger that comes with pointing a weapon at armed police officers.
Molloy handed Bard a sentence of 27 months in custody Friday. Molloy was considering a four-year sentence, he told the offender.
He settled on the high end of the Crown’s 24 to 27 month sentence recommendation.
Bard previously pleaded guilty to a slew of offences stemming from the three standoffs and breaches, including assaulting a police officer with a weapon, assault causing bodily harm and resisting arrest.
Bard, the court head, has been incarcerated for most of his adult life.
Prosecutor Travis Weagant highlighted the offender’s long and “aggravating” criminal record, which contains multiple convictions for violent offences.
Bard received a three-year sentence in 2010 for aggravated assault. Five years later, he was convicted of sexual assault with a weapon. He received a four-year sentence for the crime.
Weagant, who called the Bard’s escalating violence “concerning,” said the incidents – including the jailhouse assault, mischief and threats – arise “when the world around Bard doesn’t work his way.”
Weagant said Bard “uses violence when he doesn’t get what he wants.”
Bard’s lawyer Tracy Bock told the court his client felt remorse for his actions and that he’s realized he needs to change his life. Bock highlighted Bard’s traumatic upbringing, one marked by violence, substance abuse and neglect. Bard began drinking at age 12. By his early 20s, he was addicted to meth. He’s been diagnosed with PTSD and ADHD, said Bock.
In 2017, Bock said Bard decided to leave Calgary to get as far away from his old friends and old life as he could.
Bard had only been in Inuvik for a few weeks before he was arrested.
After spending most of his adult life behind bars, Bock said his client “has become institutionalized,” but that he wants to get help.
Bard, wearing a bright red sweater–- signifying he’s been segregated at NSCC – told Molloy he’s “made a lot of mistakes in life.”
“I don’t want this life anymore,” said Bard. He said he’s currently housed in a “secure living unit,” at the Yellowknife jail because he “refuses to fight.”
After so many stints in jail, Molloy wondered out loud, “what’s different this time?”
Bock responded that his client doesn’t want to head down the road of a dangerous offender designation and that he wants to change his life.
Molloy told Bard that “at the end of the day,” only he could choose to break the cycle that’s brought him before the courts time after time.
Molloy warned Bard that if he’s charged with another serious crime, he’ll likely do significant time in prison.
“This is pretty much your last chance,” said Molloy.
Bard was ordered to submit a sample of his DNA, and he his barred for possessing weapons for the rest of his life.
With credit for time spent in remand custody – 247 days – Bard will have about 1.5 years left to serve, meaning he won’t be sent to a southern penitentiary. Bard will be on probation for three years after his release.