Canada
Man who terrorized neighbours jailed

Home of Felice Scala, 61, and his son, Ralph, 36, who are accused of terrorizing residents and business owners on Quebec Ave. Scala house is on right, with white fence.

Credits: Chris Doucette/Sun Media

SAM PAZZANO | QMI AGENCY

TORONTO -- A notorious bully who terrorized his neighbours and made them feel like prisoners in their homes was jailed for 60 days.

"The law cannot enforce a person to love thy neighbour," said Justice John Ritchie said in passing sentence on Ralph Scala Wednesday.
The judge also ordered him to stay out of the neighbourhood for three years and avoid any contact with his victims.

Scala, 40, who was credited with 12 days already served, pleaded guilty to 20 offences, including uttering threats, mischief interfering with property and failing to comply with probation.

These offences arose from a threat Scala uttered to QMI Agency columnist Michele Mandel in November 2011 at the Old City Hall courthouse after his father, Felice Scala, was denied bail for allegedly breaching his probation on six occasions.

"They're playing with fire -- I'm back in four months," Scala told Mandel of his neighbours. "A lot of people are going to be selling their houses."

The same residents who endured years of tire slashings, broken windows, and dog feces and dead animals dumped on their doorsteps took Scala's published words as a threat.  Consequently, he was charged.

"These charges go back for 13 years. A neighbourhood dispute between Mr. Scala and these victims resulted in a number of threats, slashed tires on a fairly constant basis," Crown attorney Rebecca Edward said.

"They were stressed out and terrorized neighbours, who had moved and had breakdowns. This synopsis doesn't do the victims justice."

Almost four years ago, Felice Scala pleaded guilty to 49 charges, including mischief, harassment and making threats. The Scalas then moved.

School principal Angelo Bolotta, whose mother-in-law suffered severe harassment at the Scalas' hands, said probation hasn't stopped Scala in the past.

"He's capable of exacting revenge well beyond this neighbourhood. We deserve more than we've gotten from the last 13 years from the criminal justice system," said Bolotta, 61.

"I believe in the rule of the law because that's what sets us apart from animals."

His wife, Maria, said her now deceased mother feared leaving her home because the Scala's pit bull intimidated her as she walked down her front stairs.

"We had 56 police officers at my then 80-year-old mom's house. It took forever to get justice," said Bolotta, a teacher. "We had to get a petition of more than 100 residents before the police recognized this wasn't simply a one-resident dispute, but a community held in terror."

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