Cornwall cabbie attacker sentenced to time served

The Cornwall courthouse at 29 Second Street West. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

CORNWALL – A Cornwall woman has been sentenced to time served in the hope that she will be able to restart her life with family in North Bay.

Linda Ceasor, 50, had earlier been found guilty following a trial on charges of assault with a weapon and making threats. She had been charged with attempted murder but the Crown was unable to make its case without reasonable doubt during the trial.

During sentencing today (Friday), Judge Rick Leroy recounted how Ceasor, who’s had a lifelong problem with alcohol, “hatched a plan” to “stab an innocent cab driver” in October 2018 in order to reunite with her son, who is serving a life sentence in an Alberta prison for homicide and was having mental health issues and suicidal thoughts behind bars.

“The explanation for Ms. Ceasor’s dysfunction in 2018 at that time in her life is heart wrenching. Doesn’t excuse it, but certainly explains where she was,” Leroy said.

Leroy sentenced Ceasor to nine months of time served in pretrial custody – three months for her time in jail following her 2018 arrest and six months credit for the two-and-half years she has spent at Lotus House – a residential bail bed program for women run by the Elizabeth Fry Society.

Ceasor will be on probation for two years, which will include a curfew for the first six months. She’s also not allowed to have knifes outside the home, not allowed to take a taxi for the first year of her probation, and is banned from owning or having weapons for 10 years.

Both the Crown and defence came to a joint position on the sentence.

“I share my friend’s comments (defence) that it’s a good idea (for Ceasor) to leave town at this stage and start over far away from those who could lead her back into the lifestyle that led to this tragic event,” prosecutor Elaine Evans said.

The cab driver survived the attack on Oct. 28, 2018 but has been traumatized by the event, which includes a scar on his neck.

“No matter which way I approached it, quite frankly, I could not, in good conscience, see the benefit of returning her to jail. It would would not accomplish anything at this stage,” the Crown attorney added.

She noted Ceasor has made “great strides” at Lotus House, which is almost like house arrest with strict monitoring. She has been sober during that time. Judge Leroy also noted the “commendable initiative” by Ceasor to rehabilitate and to “take on a mental leadership role in Lotus House.” He also said it was the most positive pre-sentence report he had seen since becoming a judge 12 years ago.

Ceasor will also have to make $250 restitution to the cab driver over the next two years.

Ceasor plans to leave for North Bay tomorrow (Saturday) after submitting a DNA sample to the court as part of her conditions.

“I really hope it pans out because that’s where the safety net is, that’s where the protection from relapse is. The value of the relationship with family hopefully overrides any predispositions to relapse,” Judge Leroy said.

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