R v Paroski, 2022 ONCJ 473

This is a ruling on a Dangerous Offender application that had been brought by the Crown after the accused had been found guilty of aggravated assault, assault with a weapon, and two breaches of probation. The Crown took the position that Paroski has a pattern of persistent aggressive behaviour that makes him a threat to the safety, physical or mental well-being or lives of others with a high likelihood of harmful recidivism and submits that he should be incarcerated indefinitely.

Paroski exhibited a long history of uncontrollable violent behaviour that had began at the age of 13 and spanned 20 years, as outlined in the application. It includes 35 convictions for violence including aggravated assault, assault with a weapon, assault of peace officers, robbery, forcible confinement, and threatening offences. His longest term of imprisonment had been four years, eight-month sentence due to his continuing to reoffend and receiving consecutive sentences.

He also demonstrates a pattern of intimate partner violence over multiple partners which included choking one former partner until she lost consciousness while she was in hospital recovering from the birth of their child during an argument in 2005. On September 7, 2013, Paroski threw another former partner’s cat off of an 11th floor apartment balcony because he had grown jealous that her phone kept ringing and accused her of cheating on him; when he wanted to have sex one day and she refused, he became irate and began smashing things before throwing her cat from the balcony. He then blocked her from leaving when she tried to run outside after the cat. Paroski pleaded guilty and received the equivalent of 6 months of jail and 18 months’ probation after enhanced credit of 142 days for pre-trial detention.

In his assessment under the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R), a checklist to get a score on a construct of psychopathy, one doctor scored Paroski as 33 out of 40 points which falls within the range for a diagnosis of psychopathy (considered to be a score of 30 or higher on the PCL-R). In contrast, the other doctor gave Paroski a score of 26 out of 40, noting that “while this score is elevated and somewhat higher than average scores in federally detained inmates (24/40), Mr. Paroski falls below the margin to make a formal diagnosis of psychopathy” (para. 108).

This same doctor gave a score of 1 under “Callousness/Lack of Empathy” section for Paroski’s throwing of his former partner’s cat from the balcony because he did not believe it was “‘gratuitous violence’ because it was not for personal pleasure” and went on to state that unless there was other evidence that Paroski he engaged in other forms of animal cruelty, he considered it a one-time incident that has never been repeated (para.118). That the killing of the cat was committed in the context of a domestic incident did not alter the doctor’s opinion.

The presiding judge was satisfied that the Crown had proven beyond a reasonable doubt that Paroski’s pattern of persistent aggressive behaviour: “Slashing the victim across the face in the index offence for no apparent reason and throwing a live animal to its certain death from a balcony are only two examples, hence a pattern, of Mr. Paroski’s gross indifference to the foreseeable harm and suffering caused by him” (para. 228). While the judge also determined that he fit the criteria and will be designated a dangerous offender, it was also concluded that Paroski had showed signs of recent improvement so that that the risk of his future release in the community could “be reduced to an acceptable level with a fixed sentence of an additional 18 months of jail in addition to time served followed by a 10-year long-term supervision order (LTSO)” (para. 272).

The warrant of committal indicates that the Court strongly recommended Paroski serve his remaining 18-month sentence at the Ontario Correctional Institute, which has more extensive reintegrative programming and would allow more time for the treatment for addictions, trauma, ADHD, and anger that he requires. The LTSO was set at the maximum length and carried strict conditions with it.

One of the LTSO conditions includes the provision that should Paroski enter into an intimate relationship, that partner should be contacted by the authorities and informed of his history and there should be close and unrestricted supervision of any such relationship. In addition, the partner should be advised to contact police immediately if there is any reason to believe that Paroski is about to act violently or has engaged in any alcohol or drug use.