Inmate who pulled gun on Niagara College student craving Crave TV while in Thorold jail | #College. | #Students

A former college student who pointed a loaded handgun at a fellow student at Niagara College went on a hunger strike in jail, demanding inmates have access to a movie-streaming service, court was told.

“His focus is not on rehabilitation, his focus is on Crave TV,” assistant Crown attorney Mark Eshuis said at the sentencing hearing for Rameen Akbari in Ontario Court of Justice in St. Catharines Monday.

The 20-year-old defendant, who has been in custody since his arrest in the fall of 2019 on weapons-related offences, also complained of overcrowded conditions at Niagara Detention Centre.

A report by Niagara Detention Centre submitted by the Crown, however, stated the wing the defendant is housed in has been classified as overcrowded on three occasions since September 2019.

According to the report, there has been a drop in the number of inmates at the Thorold jail since the global pandemic began.

Niagara Regional Police were called to the Niagara College residence in Niagara-on-the-Lake on Sept. 23, 2019, after Akbari was involved in an altercation with another student.

Court heard Akbari, then 18, was a first year student and was three weeks into a business program at the time of the offence.

“This was a very dangerous situation,” said Eshuis, who asked the judge to impose a four-year jail term.

“It was necessary that the police respond with firearms drawn as they walked on to the campus because they didn’t know where the gunman was. That created a very tense and possibly dangerous situation and that should be placed at the feet of Mr. Akbari.”

The offender fled the area prior to police arrival and he was later found inside a Thorold home.

Nearby homes were evacuated while other residents were told to shelter in place. Akbari subsequently surrendered to police without incident.

Court heard the young man may be suffering from undiagnosed mental health issues as a result of witnessing the murders of his grandparents and uncle in his native Afghanistan.



His sister said her younger brother began carrying a gun as he felt he needed to protect himself. She described her sibling as “kind and respectful and an amazing person.”

The defendant will be sentenced later this month.

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