Suspended teacher loses bid to have charges referred to mental health court
Cole Harbour District High School teacher Derek Stephenson was arrested last November
A suspended Halifax-area school teacher has failed in his bid to have criminal charges referred to Nova Scotia's mental health court program.
The lawyer for Derek William Stephenson, 42, appeared in Dartmouth provincial court on Friday to try to schedule the switch. But the Crown told defence lawyer Joel Pink that the case "would not qualify."
Pink then asked that the matter be rescheduled to June 4 so he could get instructions from his client. Stephenson was not in court for Friday's appearance.
Stephenson, an English teacher at Cole Harbour District High School, was arrested last November following an alleged incident involving a 15-year-old student.
According to RCMP, Stephenson removed a pair of ear buds the student was wearing in the classroom. The student then grabbed Stephenson's lanyard and that's when police say Stephenson pushed the student into a wall and put him down on the floor.
Stephenson was initially charged with assault and mischief. A charge of breach of probation was added later.
The breach charge stemmed from an altercation between Stephenson and his former girlfriend. He received a conditional sentence in that case.
He was under probation from that sentence when the alleged altercation at the school occurred.
In addition to pleading guilty in October 2017 to threatening his ex-girlfriend, Stephenson pleaded guilty in November 2013 to assaulting his ex-wife. He received a conditional sentence in that case as well.
In the case of the latest charges, a four-second video recorded by another student was circulated on social media.
It showed a man kneeling and briefly putting a student in a chokehold. The student was not injured.
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