Harassing Men Warned to 'let it go' - Too many can't move on, judge says

Dalson Chen - Reporter
Published: Saturday, August 21, 2010

Faced with two cases in which local men harassed and terrorized their former families, a judge says too many Windsorites can't let go of their broken relationships.

As Justice Guy DeMarco prepared to sentence one of the cases, he asked the accused if he is "one of those people -- and unfortunately, there are too many in this community -- that don't know when a relationship is over and you don't have a right to pursue it?"

The court heard on Friday that 43-year-old Michael Ponic has harassed his ex-wife through-out the summer. They married in 1999, separated in 2003 and divorced in 2005. They have a son together.

Ponic's behaviour grew disturbing in early June, when his ex-wife moved in with her boyfriend due to flooding at her residence.

The court heard of multiple occasions when Ponic phoned the victim many times in one day, begging to resume their relationship, calling her names and telling her in a menacing manner that he'd be seeing her.

On July 5 alone, he left 14 messages for her.

Ponic also called the victim at her workplace, claiming that there'd been a "family emergency" and that he needed to speak to her immediately.

On July 29, the victim and her boyfriend encountered Ponic at a baseball park. He followed them with a camera. When they left for ice cream, he pursued them in a vehicle, yelling.
Ponic was arrested by police as a result. He has remained in custody since.

"The conduct of the accused ... is continued and protracted, and is the cause of great fear for the victim," said assistant Crown attorney Scott Pratt.

Defence lawyer Travis Hughes said his client is going through a difficult time. He said Ponic is a Chrysler employee who is out of work due to the seasonal plant shutdown.

"He fixated when he was idle."

Hughes said Ponic's adoptive mother committed suicide when he was 10, and his adoptive father was abusive. He said Ponic has struggled with depression and is an alumnus of the Brentwood Recovery Home.

Indicating Ponic's psychotherapist and the psychotherapist's nurse, Hughes said: "These people are really the only allies ... the only infrastructure that he has."

As well, Hughes said Ponic has been informed there's a very good possibility he will lose his job.

Ponic pleaded guilty to three counts of criminal harassment. Asked if he had anything to say to the court, Ponic replied: "I am sorry. I was just trying to have (my son) back in my life."

But DeMarco noted that the repeated phone calls and other behaviour do not indicate Ponic was only concerned about his son. He sentenced Ponic to 21 more days in custody, two years probation, non-association with his ex-wife and her boyfriend, and a 10-year prohibition against owning weapons.

"And if there's any more of this, you can expect it will become a very serious matter," DeMarco warned.

Earlier on Friday, DeMarco heard the case of another Windsor man -- 44-year-old Edward Easter.

Easter was incarcerated previously on charges of assault, forcible confinement, uttering threats and arson. He committed the offences against his own family -- his wife, two sons and daughter.