An Edmonton judge banned two teens from playing video games for their connection in the microwave death of a cat, despite no direct link between gaming and the crime.
The judge later said that the video game ban was included in his probation for the teens because he wanted to mirror the sentence imposed in a previous judgement in the case.
A group of teens broke into a house in Edmonton last December, vandalising the home and then grabbing the family cat and placing it in a microwave. No one tried to remove the cat as it screamed in agony for 10 minutes, according to the newspaper.
On Sept. 4 two other teens who pleaded guilty to killing the cat were sentenced to one-year probation, including bans on playing violent video games. The inclusion of a video game ban, seems to be an unusual measure.
In general, youth court probation orders are meant to promote long-term positive growth in a young person, Easton said, but he declined to comment on what it means to have Alberta judges include video game bans in such judgements.
"The recommendation didn't come from us," he said. "That really is something that you'd have to speak to psychiatrists or psychologists about."
Requests for comment from the medical officials who recommended the original video game ban were not returned Monday.
As disturbing as this case is, it sounds to me that adding a ban on video games serves almost as an excuse for the teens involved. Why probation at all? Often violence towards animals is a predictor of future, more violent acts. There is certainly stronger evidence tying animal cruelty to future criminal behaviour than there is tying video game playing to it.
Video game ban in teens' plea deal [Thanks Steve]