Former Montreal sports writer Jonah Keri was sentenced to 21 months in jail on Wednesday, after pleading guilty to charges of assault, death threats and criminal harassment against his former wife and a minor, previously reported to be their child.
Keri is also banned from possessing weapons and can't be within 50 metres of his victims, according to Quebec Court Justice Alexandre Dalmau's ruling.
Keri was arrested at his Montreal-area home in July 2019, after a series of alleged attacks that had begun a year earlier. The 47-year-old faced four initial charges: two counts of assault, one count of assault causing bodily harm and one count of uttering death threats.
Keri was granted bail shortly following his arrest, but was forbidden from being within 250 metres of his wife and child, and could not carry a weapon.
In November 2019, Keri was taken into custody again when he broke one of his bail conditions by apparently attempting to contact his wife. Keri’s lawyer said that the call was “more than likely a pocket dial.”
A month later, Keri was charged with additional counts of assault against his wife and child.
Court statements and documents revealed that Keri verbally and physically threatened his former wife, allegedly threatening her with knives and beating her while she was pregnant.
Keri pled guilty to the charges against him last August. The prosecution asked for a 12-month jail sentence with probation, while Keri’s defence team asked for no jail time.
"It's been many months that we've known that he had to plead guilty," said defence lawyer Jeffrey Boro at the time. "He's undergoing extensive treatment for problems that he has and we felt that he had to be further along in his treatment before we approached the Crown."
In a victim impact statement made at a sentencing hearing last year, Keri’s former wife shared the lasting effects of their marriage.
"To this day, I feel compelled to avoid confrontation at any cost, no matter who it is with,” she said. “Because of Mr. Keri’s actions, I lost myself.”
Keri is well known for his 2014 bestselling book about the Montreal Expos and has worked for many of Canada’s top sports media publications, most recently covering baseball for The Athletic. He was fired by the company following his arrest in July 2019.
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