Sister of man beaten near Melfort frustrated by judicial system after assailants plead to lesser offence

After months of waiting for the court to move forward on the charges laid against her brother’s assailants, Shanda Tansowny is “very disheartened” with the outcome.Tansowny’s brother Chris Hawkins, 45, died in hospital about a month after being assaulted on a Saskatchewan farmyard near Melfort in August 2022. The Saskatchewan Coroners Service says there is no evidence trauma contributed to his death, but Tansowny is convinced it did.Adam and Peter Mclean were both charged with aggravated assault, but pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of assault causing bodily harm in Melfort Provincial Court on Monday. Both are scheduled to be sentenced in July.The maximum sentence for aggravated assault is 14 years, compared with 10 years for assault causing bodily harm.Tansowny, a nurse living in Calgary, said she was told the men would be pleading guilty. She was surprised to hear them plead to a lesser offence given what she knows about the case.”It is clear, crystal clear, where responsibilities are, where responsibilities fell short, who was responsible for what, and I want the justice system to be as crystal clear as I am,” she said.Both Peter and Adam still face outstanding forcible confinement charges. Peter also faces a charge for uttering threats and Adam has an outstanding assault with a weapon charge. Remaining charges are set to be dealt with on July 15, the day of their sentencing.Tansowny recalled the discussion in court ensuring the sentencing date worked for those involved.”It took every bit of me not to yell out, ‘it’s not a good date for my brother.'”Shanda Tansowny says the court outcome has led her to push harder to advocate for changes to the judicial system to hold people accountable. (James Young/CBC)Charges follow investigation from Hawkins’s sisterHawkins was initially arrested by a responding RCMP officer, despite being beaten, bloody and bound with zip ties.Tansowny said her brother had been door-knocking farms looking for someone to hire him to help with the harvest when he entered the Mclean farmyard. She believes it would have been difficult for him to communicate in a stressful situation, because he lived with schizophrenia.It wasn’t until after Tansowny investigated the incident herself, including obtaining a video of it, that the two Mclean men were charged. She also submitted a complaint with the Civilian Review Complaints Commission about several RCMP members’ conduct and their investigation.Her goal was to find out the truth and ensure justice was served properly. After hearing the guilty plea, she believes it was not.”I went looking for the truth, that was what I wanted, I don’t think that that’s too much to ask as a family member who wants to put this to rest,” Tansowny said.LISTEN | Tansowny appeared on CBC’s Saskatoon Morning:Saskatoon Morning8:18After her brother’s death, a woman did some digging. It led to the arrest of his assailantsAlmost a year ago, a Saskatchewan man was arrested on a rural property after police found him bound, beaten and bloody. After his death, his sister wanted to find out what happened, so she did some digging. Guest host Theresa Kliem speaks with CBC’s Dayne Patterson about what she found and how it led to arrests months later.After Tansowny’s complaint about the investigation, RCMP conducted an analysis and found two officers had neglected their duties.The report said one of them, Const. Alphonse Noey, would be given extra training to improve his investigative tactics, while the other, Staff Sgt. Darren Simons, had retired and was therefore outside the RCMP’s purview.

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