THUNDER BAY — The Crown is seeking a dangerous offender designation for a man who has previously pleaded guilty to manslaughter and several charges relating to a hostage taking at the Kenora District Jail.
Patrick Kanate, 31, appeared before Justice Danial Newton in a Thunder Bay courtroom for a dangerous offender hearing on Monday.
A dangerous offender designation carries with it an indeterminate jail sentence and is determined by an offender displaying repetitive violent behaviour and lack of remorse, thereby posing potential future risk to the public.
A long-term offender designation involves the supervision of the offender for a period of 10 years.
In December 2011, Kanate pleaded guilty to manslaughter for his role in the 2010 stabbing death of his cousin, 25-year-old Keegan Williams, and was sentenced to seven years in custody.
In September 2018, Kanate, along with eight other inmates at the Kenora District Jail, were charged following an incident involving a corrections officer being assaulted and taken hostage inside the facility.
Kanate pleaded guilty in April 2021 to charges of hostage-taking, three counts of assaulting a peace officer with a weapon, disarming a peace officer, uttering threats.
Crown attorney Peter Keen is seeking a dangerous offender designation for Kanate as part of the sentencing, which would see him sentenced to an undetermined amount of time in custody.
Defense lawyer Kevin Matthews asked the court to instead impose a sentence of an additional 3.5 to 5.5 years in custody, minus pre-sentence custody, equating to a total sentence of eight to 10 years.
“We are asking you not to give up on Mr. Kanate and sentence him to an indeterminate period of time,” Matthews said, adding that if he is designated as a dangerous or long-term offender, that he receive long-term supervision for a period of 10 years.
“The middle ground allows for supervision upon release but further period of incarceration,” Matthews said. “We are suggesting the middle ground, if you go that route, supports Mr. Kanate going forward.”
As part of the hearing, the Crown called Dr. Philip Klassen, an expert in forensic psychology to testify.
Klassen conducted several interviews Kanate and he testified to his background and behavioural issues.
According to Klassen’s testimony, Kanate, originally from Weagamow Lake First Nation, was exposed to substance use and violence at a young age, as well as gang membership and the selling of drugs.
Klassen added that Kanate exhibits signs of anti-social personality disorder and what he described as an “ambivalence about changing his lifestyle.”
“I think the sum total is there was ambivalence when I saw him talking about changing his life style,” Klassen testified. “It goes without saying, for Mr. Kanate to return to his home community would pose many challenges in terms of recidivism.”
Klassen also noted that Kanate is at high-risk for aggressive behaviour and if released he should be subject to some kind of supervisory program.
However, Klassen also noted that in the last two years, Kanate has not engaged in any violent behaviour while in custody, but could not say for certain what brought about the change in behaviour.
During cross-examination by Matthews, Klassen said he does not think Kanate lacks insight into his actions and has used violence as a shield when dealing with a world in which he views as distrustful.
“I think Mr. Kanate understands the way he thinks and understands the way other people think,” he said. “I think the challenge is the choice.”
Substance abuse has also played a role in Kanate’s actions, Klassen added, noting the 2010 death of his cousin was related to alcohol use.
“Mr. Kanate has the ability to make a change in the right circumstances and I think that is where the focus should be,” Klassen testified. “Mr. Kanate has the cognitive ability to make a change. I hope the last 27 months are reflective of something meaningful in that way without knowing more about it. We need to have more than just hope in a proceeding like this.”
The hearing will resume on Tuesday and the Crown is expected to call one additional witness to testify.