Violence in the family: the difficult past of violent spouses

According to a survey conducted Homework, 7 of the 15 men who allegedly killed their spouse last year have already been charged with domestic violence: sexual assault, assault with a weapon, forced imprisonment and death threats are among the allegations we found when we looked at their files. 2021, marked by an alarming number of domestic homicides in Quebec, illustrates the difficulty with which the judicial and police systems can stop perpetrators of domestic violence.

Brandon McIntyre is charged with the murder of Rebecca Harry, who died in March 2021. Three days after being hospitalized, the 29-year-old succumbed to her injuries, becoming the seventh blacklisted victim in less than seven weeks. feminicides committed in Quebec.

However, this same man harassed his ex-wife for twelve years, repeatedly defying conditions imposed by city and provincial courts forbidding him to communicate with her or be in her presence.

“We didn’t know anything about this man,” says Rebecca’s sister, Sarah Lisa Harry. “They were together for less than four months, for us it was a shock. Her family members don’t know if Rebecca Harry knew about her new husband’s abusive past, as she never told them about it.

For years, the Montreal man threatened his ex-wife, telling her that her friends would take care of her and her family. He also hinted that she was not safe in her area, that she and her relatives were in danger of being shot. Mimicking a revolver with his hand, he threw “Pow-pow-bang-bang” to the mother of his ex-girlfriend, whom he met on the street. He was arrested, detained and charged with death threats or bodily harm.

In December 2013, he finally pleaded guilty to these charges, but as he spent 60 days in custody, his sentence was suspended.

Five months later, his ex-wife filed a complaint against him again for insulting her in a store, spitting on her and following her a few days later when he was forbidden to come closer than 200 meters to her. He was arrested and jailed for violating conditions. “My son, he is a very good guy […] a very good person,” supported Mr. McIntyre’s mother to help him gain his freedom while waiting for the procedures to be completed. She called her ex-son “a problematic person.” The son was released, and the judge even pointed out that his mother’s testimony worked in his favor. He eventually pleaded guilty again and received 100 hours of community service and two years of unsupervised probation.

This is not the only case of relapse. Our analysis shows that 7 of the 15 men who allegedly killed their partners in 2021 were known to the courts.

According to the Department of Justice, each year, out of the total number of cases of domestic violence, a quarter is due to non-compliance.

sad record

Thomassy Kane was awaiting trial for assault with a weapon on his ex-wife Elisapi Angma. Violating his terms for the third time, he was arrested and taken into custody. The 41-year-old managed to convince the court that he did not pose a danger to Angma after agreeing to move to another village in Nunavik.

“Knowing that you will be living in a different community reassures the court that the plaintiff will be safe,” Judge Peggy Varolin said.

Ten days later, Thomassy Kane killed Elizabeth Angma before taking her own life.

What is most disturbing is that the author of the first feminicide of 2021 in Quebec had an overwhelming criminal record: he was involved in a criminal case 51 times, 11 times on charges of domestic violence. He was also placed on the sex offender registry after pleading guilty to two counts of sexual assault in 2010 and 2013.

Why was this recidivist released? In courts, detention is an exception. “For the accused to remain in custody [en attendant son procès]The Crown must demonstrate that there is a significant likelihood [qu’il soit un risque pour la société] ” explains well as Audrey Mercier-Turgeon, Acting Deputy Chief Prosecutor and Provincial Domestic Violence Coordinator for the Director of Criminal and Criminal Prosecutions (DPCP). “When the defendant has a previous conviction for domestic violence, this burden can be lifted, so he must prove that his detention is not necessary. »

This provision was applied to the case of Mr. Kane, who succeeded in convincing Judge Peggy Varolin that his detention was not necessary. The judge said in court, “Today I give you the opportunity to really change your life. DPCP does not have data on the number of shifts in the burden of proof that led to the defendant being placed in pre-trial detention.

“We do not assess the potential danger well. There are those who come to court and say “yes, yes, I understand,” and it goes like a letter in the mail. How can we place so much weight on the words of men who wanted to control their spouse? How can we do this? says Manon Monastes, executive director of the Federation of Women’s Shelters.

According to our investigation, three other men who would have killed their ex-spouse in 2021 were repeat offenders. They faced several charges of domestic violence before they committed the irreparable. Two of them committed suicide and the other tried to do so by causing a car accident but survived.


Noureddin Mimouni was charged with criminal prosecution, forcible imprisonment and assault on his partner Natalie Pisha in December 2020. In February 2021, the charges were dropped as his wife, with whom he was still living, was no longer willing to testify. The Crown, however, feared for his safety, and the judge ordered the 34-year-old to “keep the peace, [d’]behave well and [de] so as not to annoy Natalie Pichet. It’s called “810” in legal jargon. This procedure allows conditions to be imposed on the defendant when there are concerns for the person’s safety, such as a ban on communicating with him or being near his home or place of work.

Four months later, the police found Natalie Piche dead in her home in Limoualu. Mr. Mimouni surrendered to the police and was charged with first-degree murder.

” [Les ordonnances 810 créent] a false sense of security, as they do not necessarily prevent the continuation of violence,” noted the Committee of Experts on Support for Victims of Sexual Violence and Domestic Violence in its report published in December 2020. Quebec has tasked this committee with finding ways to better support victims. He also notes that “the police did not immediately respond to victims’ complaints when they allege non-compliance with the conditions.”

Our investigation shows that another man, also suspected of killing his wife last year, also received 810 when his partner filed a complaint 13 years ago.

In seven years, from 2015 to 2021, the courts issued 1,365,810 rulings, during the same period, 707 violations of 810 rulings were registered, according to data from the Ministry of Justice obtained by Duty. Every year in Quebec, the judiciary handles about 18,000 cases of domestic violence.

review too late

In his report on the death of Jerry Simon, released in January, Coroner Jacques Ramsay points out the difficulty of dealing with the facts as a whole in domestic violence cases. It is reminiscent of the many stakeholders moving through the file without putting all the “jigsaw pieces” together.

A few days before Christmas, in December 2019, Mr. Simon hid under the stairwell of the house where his ex-wife Howla Griss lived and waited for her to come out to break into her house, and I’m waiting. “He attacked her and made her endure the real test,” before taking his own life, the coroner notes.

This story of domestic violence has been going on for almost four years. In February 2016, the police intervened for the first time to evict Mr. Simon from the matrimonial home. He is charged with assault, but the couple reconcile and the charges are dropped. In the following years, the police intervened several times. In October 2019, Jerry Simon was sentenced to two months in prison for hitting Howla Grissou and grabbing her by the throat. This does not prevent him from calling her from prison, while he is forbidden to communicate with her. As soon as he was released, he did it again, trying to contact her through friends. He tells his probation officer that he will make peace with her. On Facebook, he writes that he will spend Christmas with his wife and daughter and uploads her photos. He ends up raping her at home with a knife. He then locked her and her daughter in the bathroom before taking his own life.

“No one has put it all together and said, ‘Oh, we’re going in the wrong direction,’” the interview emphasizes. Duty Coroner Jacques Ramsay. “General portrait of the famous”big picture”, does not appear or appears too late. »

This finding echoes the analysis of the Domestic Violence Death Review Committee, which reviewed 10 cases to write its first report. report published in December 2020. In six cases, the perpetrator had a history of domestic violence and sexual assault. In nine cases, victims or aggressors contacted the police before the fatal tragedy.

The family of Rebecca Harry, who was allegedly the victim of a repeat offender whose past she seemed unaware of, insists on the importance of speaking out and condemning domestic violence. While Brandon McIntyre is awaiting trial for the murder of his daughter, Yolanda Frenette is asking for the perpetrators of the abuse to be framed. “This has to change, the laws have to change, our system has to be restrictive, not permissive. »

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