Halton Hills and North Halton newspapers
Man pleads guilty to assaulting teen referee
Independent & Free Press (Georgetown, ON), 28 Jul 2006, news, p. 1, 3

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Man pleads guilty to assaulting teen referee

LISA TALLYN Staff Writer A Georgetown man was ordered in court Wednesday to undergo anger management counselling and do 60 hours of community service after pleading guilty to assaulting a 15-year-old referee at a hockey game in January. William Kirby, 49, of Confederation St., was not convicted of the charge, instead Provincial Court Justice Frederick Forsyth gave him a conditional discharge that also included 15 months probation and the stipulation that Kirby not have any contact with the young referee during that period. Kirby was charged with assault level one after he became upset about a call to disallow a goal and pushed a referee following an Atom house league game at Mold-Masters SportsPlex on January 28, 2006. The male referee wasn't injured, but did report the incident to police and league officials. Kirby's lawyer William Kort said in Burlington court that Kirby, who has been an assistant coach for a Georgetown Minor Atom hockey team, is "well known in the minor hockey community" and that the incident has had "much wider implications on him." Kort said since the incident, Kirby was prohibited from arenas during the recent hockey season where Georgetown Minor Hockey Association (GMHA) games were being played, except for playoff games his children were in. He said the GMHA prohibition will remain in effect until Kirby participates in anger management counselling. "His brief and promising career as a hockey coach was cut short," said Kort. Kort also said the incident had been publicized on the front page of The Independent & Free Press and was reported in the Toronto Sun and on a radio station. "This is the way it should be," said Forsyth. He said the publicity acts as a general deterrent. "I say, those are the consequences of actions sometimes," said Forsyth. Kort provided a letter of support for Kirby from the head coach of the team he helped coach. The letter was also signed by the parents of all the team members. Kort said his client was "deeply ashamed" of his behaviour in the incident. Both Kort and assistant Crown attorney Maureen McGuigan jointly requested the conditional discharge, however, McGuigan asked for 18 months probation, to give the victim that amount of time to be free of seeing the accused, and to allow for the anger management counselling. Kort called for 12 months probation. Forsyth said, in light of the fact that Kirby had a previous conviction for assault in 1997, it was "very unusual" for the Crown attorney to support a discharge. "Mr. Kirby is being treated very well by the prosecutorial authorities," said Forsyth. He did not support the Crown's request for an 18-month probation, or the defence request for 12 months, instead offering a compromise of 15 months. Kirby declined to both speak in court when given the opportunity by the judge, and to the Independent & Free Press following the proceeding. Bob DeZeeuw, referee-in-chief for Georgetown Hockey Referees Association, was satisfied with the outcome. "If the justice system thinks this is fair, I'm fine with it," said DeZeeuw Thursday. "I'm glad to see it wasn't summarily dismissed or ignored. I hope that spectators will think twice now about crossing the line. "Our first responsibility is to make sure our referees are safe in that environment, and we encourage parents to remember, this is just a game," he said. (Lisa Tallyn can be reached at ltallyn@independentfreepress.com)

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28 Jul 2006
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Man pleads guilty to assaulting teen referee