A 52-year-old man will be serving a jail sentence it's just a matter of how long.
Christopher Musqua was found guilty of unlawful confinement, assault, assault by choking, assault with a weapon and uttering death threats. Musqua appeared in Moose Jaw Provincial Court on Thursday for sentencing.
The charges stem from an incident on Sept. 12, 2023, when police received a call about a man and a woman who had been assaulted at a downtown residence.
At issue is whether jail time for the charges should run consecutive or concurrent to one another.
In her submissions to the court, Crown prosecutor Monique Paquin asked for a sentence of 18 months for the unlawful confinement, one year for the assaults against the female victim and one year for the assault on the male victim. Paquin asked for the sentences to run consecutively for a total of three and a half years behind bars.
“Given his record, he has been given longer sentences for similar offences,” Paquin told the court.
Paquin argued that Musqua has a lengthy and violent criminal record in which rehabilitation is not an option. She also noted that an aggravating factor is that, according to the criminal code, unlawful confinement could be considered a home invasion because it happened in the victim’s home.
Paquin said the Crown proceeded summarily but did not want to give Musqua a “free pass” on the convictions.
Paquin said the law around consecutive and concurrent sentences is not clear, but she produced case law that she felt showed consecutive sentences is available to the court under the circumstances.
Musqua had produced a Gladue statement, which outlines his Indigenous background and experiences with residential schools. Paquin said the Crown is interested in a nexus of the Gladue factors in relation to the offences.
Legal Aid lawyer Suzanne Lalonde chose her words carefully as she called the Crown’s submissions “unreasonable” and that there is a misunderstanding of when consecutive sentences are appropriate.
Lalonde said the criminal code is the guidepost as to when consecutive and concurrent sentences are appropriate. She said the criminal code says concurrent sentences are appropriate when the offences occur in one “transaction.”
Lalonde agreed with the 18 months for unlawful confinement. At issue were the assaults and uttering threats.
Lalonde asked for one year concurrent for the more serious assaults against the female victim and 45 days consecutive or 90 days concurrent for the common assault against the male victim.
Lalonde pointed out that Musqua was convicted in 2020 for common assault and was sentenced to 40 days and probation and she couldn’t understand why the sentence was jumping from 40 days in 2020 to 365 days in 2024 for the same offence.
When it came to Musqua’s criminal record, Lalonde said many of the serious offences happened when he was young and he didn’t have a serious offence in the past 19 years and the concurrent sentence would not be a “free pass.”
Lalonde spoke at length, reading from Musqua’s Gladue statement and the profound effects residential schools had on him as a residential school survivor. She argued that Gladue factors don’t need a nexus in order to be considered.
Finally, Lalonde raised issues with the fact the Crown proceeded summarily instead of by indictment and then proceeded to ask for an extended jail sentence. She said that electing to prosecute Musqua on summary offences indicated they were not in the high range of sentencing and were not more serious offences. She also noted that, if the Crown had proceeded by indictment, it would have left her client more options such as trial by Court of King’s Bench and trial by judge only or jury.
As for the case law, Lalonde argued that the cases presented were completely different situations compared to this case and felt they were not appropriate.
Judge David Chow wanted to carefully review all of the submissions and reserved his sentencing for Jan. 25 at Moose Jaw Provincial Court.