Three teens of a group of five charged earlier this summer in another froshing case pleaded guilty this week and received conditional discharges.
Each pleaded guilty to one count of assault with a weapon and were handed a six-month conditional discharge that will require them to write a letter of apology to their victims and perform 25 hours of community service.
All three teens admitted that on June 20 around 9:30 p.m. they were at the Akinsdale 7-Eleven when they spotted two younger teens they knew were in Grade 9.
They told the two teens they were going to be hazed. One of the victims knew the five teens, but the other victim didn't and neither wanted to go along.
Crown prosecutor Bill Wister said the two victims didn't speak out because they felt any resistance or complaint on their part would result in more trouble.
The two victims along with five teens went to a wooded area behind the Safeway on Hebert Road. One of the teens grabbed a hockey stick from home.
All of the attackers hit each of the victims between two and three times. While neither boy suffered any long-term injuries, both suffered bruising and had trouble sitting for several days.
To their credit Wister said, all three teens were co-operative with police and gave a full description of their involvement, but didn't seem to realize their actions were illegal.
‘Line in the sand'
Wister said with the problem being a continuous issue in St. Albert, the courts needed to make clear that hazing is assault.
"If it is seen as a rite of passage, that really concerns the Crown," he said. "We have to draw a line in the sand and say this has to stop."
Wister called for a probationary term for each of the boys with similar conditions to the ultimate sentence.
One of the boy's lawyers Brad Leebody said his clients seemed to believe that the two victims consented and that made it acceptable.
"He was perhaps under a mistaken belief that the two youth were essentially going along with it," said Leebody. "He lacked a cognizant understanding of the seriousness of what happened."
The three defence lawyers were all seeking either a reprimand or absolute discharges that would leave the boys without even the risk of obtaining youth criminal records.
The conditional discharges will leave the boys without a record so long as they complete the community service work and write the letter of apology.
In handing down her sentence, Judge Danielle Dalton drove home the point that silence was not consent.
"Despite the fact that they didn't object verbally, I am sure they didn't want to be there."
Dalton also made a recommendation that the three boys' community service hours somehow be related to froshing prevention.
One final issue about sentencing was put over until next month to be settled.
Under the criminal code a conviction for assault with a weapon carries with it a mandatory DNA order that requires offenders to submit a sample to the national database.
Lawyers for two of the boys announced they could challenge the constitutionality of that law.
Constitutional challenges of existing legislation need to go through a more detailed process that involves informing the attorney general. Dalton set the issue over to January for a further hearing.
The third boy consented to providing a sample of his DNA and does not intend to challenge the law.