A city man was sentenced to house arrest for an alcohol-fueled assault on his ex-partner, the Grand Forks provincial court heard Wednesday, April 28. The sentence reflects a joint recommendation by Crown and defense councils.
The 34-year-old man, unnamed to protect the victim’s identity, pleaded guilty in January to assault causing bodily harm and breaching a probation order stemming from a previous assault on the same woman, Judge Philip Seagram said.
Giving the man three months’ house arrest and 18 months’ probation, Seagram stressed that, “assaults of this kind have been an absolute blight in this country.” The judge held up pictures of the injured woman’s face: “Even black and white photographs demonstrate that this was a significant assault. Both of her eyes are swollen and blackened as a result of you punching her in the face repeatedly,” he said.
Seagram then ordered the man not to possess or consume intoxicants, especially alcohol, during his house arrest. “It’s just very, very clear that you need to lead a sober life,” he told the man, who had drank “beers and a whole bottle of vodka” at the time of his second assault on the victim.
Seagram explained that his reasons for sentencing accounted for special cultural considerations in light of the man’s Indigenous background. The man told a court-appointed investigator that “his teen years were horrible” and that he started drinking at age 16. He has sustained several concussions, most recently from a bad car accident, which Seagram agreed had impaired the man’s judgment.
The judge said the man had taken responsibility for his actions, not only by admitting his guilt, but also by telling the court that he was committed to “make the effort” to get help and change his ways.
The man was ordered to stay at his home 24 hours a day for three months, except to work and attend regular counseling ordered by his conditional sentence supervisor. He was then given a five-year ban on owning or possessing firearms and ordered to provide a DNA sample to police. He was further ordered to pay two $100 fines.
He was ordered to keep the peace and to stay away from the victim as a condition of his sentence.