Seip sentenced for breaking house arrest

The Ontario Court of Justice building at 110 Main Street North in Alexandria, Ont. on Wednesday, April 25, 2018. A Cornwall man has been sentenced to 21 days in jail for breaking his house arrest. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

ALEXANDRIA – A Cornwall man will be spending 21 days in jail after being found guilty of violating a house arrest and failing to keep the peace.

Marcel Seip, 29, was sentenced immediately after a half day trial at the Alexandria courthouse on Wednesday (April 25).

During the trial, Cornwall police officer David Langleois and Seip’s two sureties – his mother, Claudette Archambault, and family friend Peter Ashby – were called to the stand by Crown attorney Jason Pilon.

Seip was arrested March 12 after returning to his mother’s home from a trip alone to the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Center to retrieve a $5,000 watch, which court heard had sentimental value.

Seip’s lawyer Tobias Okada-Phillips only called Seip to testify in his defence.

“The road to disaster in these courts are paved with individuals who make decisions based on assumptions,” Judge Franco Giamberardino ruled.

Giamberardino agreed with the Crown that Seip, travelling to OCDC to retrieve his watch and other personal belongings, was not in the list of exceptions on his recognizance order.

The judge also believed Seip should have known better with his familiarity with the courts and that his criminal record “amply supports” that assumption.

“His decision to leave his place of residence, in my view, rested solely and entirely on him. His explanation and the circumstances as I have heard them, in my view, is not reasonable.”

While on the stand, Seip had argued that he thought the jail was part of the judicial system (courts and police) and would be able to travel to OCDC without his surety with him. He also claimed, under questioning from his lawyer, that his mother had “maybe” set him up.

The trial also hit an emotional boiling point when, under cross examination, the defence started questioning Seip’s 59-year-old mother about her criminal past, in an attempt to discredit her. The court took a break to allow Archambault to collect herself.

In handing down the sentence, Seip was given credit for his 45 days of pre-trial custody on a one-and-a-half for one basis (67 days), but will have to serve a further 21 days behind bars.

Giamberardino asked Seip if he wanted to say anything before his sentence.

“I went to the damn jail and came home. I honestly didn’t think I would even be here doing this. Now I’m looking at six months. Give me six years, what’s it matter? I’m going to be going away for a long time anyways for something I didn’t do…doesn’t even matter at this point. I lost my house, my cars, my job, my business, my wife, my family, my kids. I’ve lost everything, what’s it matter? Panhandling is what I’m going to be going to once I get out of here,” a distraught Seip said.

“After you have some time to reflect, you’ll realize that you do have some positive assets. Unfortunately, they didn’t help you with this particular matter,” Giamberardino responded.

Seip was under house arrest as he faces more serious charges in relation to his alleged involvement in a kidnapping and shooting in Cornwall in December – something Giamberardino characterized as an “extremely serious set of circumstances.”

Crown Jason Pilon plans to take action against Seip to collect the $1,500 bond he had posted, in a process called an estreatment hearing. Pilon won’t penalize his two sureties, given the circumstances of the case, who had posted $1,500 each.