Man convicted of family assaults should get 2 years less a day: Crown

A B.C. man who was convicted of assaulting his wife and two of his children should spend two years less a day in jail, a prosecutor argued Friday.

The man, who cannot be identified because of a publication ban imposed in order to protect the victims, was found guilty in November of 12 criminal counts for attacks on his family over a 14-year period.

In sentencing submissions, Crown counsel Joseph Marin said that the aggravating factors in the case included that some of the attacks on the man’s wife were in front of one or more of their children and that persistent verbal abuse accompanied the assaults.

Marin told B.C. Supreme Court Justice Brenda Brown that the family had a right to feel safe in their home but the accused deprived them of that security.

In one of the attacks, the accused punched his wife in the back, in the area of the liver, resulting in her experiencing pain for over a year.

“This was a cowardly blow on a person in a defenceless position,” said the prosecutor.

On another occasion, the accused kicked one of his sons, who was eight or nine, in the stomach with sufficient force to knock him backwards.

Marin said a psychiatrist’s report was troubling in that it demonstrated that the accused completely lacks remorse for the violence committed against his family.

The accused, who was a lawyer with a law firm for a number of years before his convictions, has lost his job, the judge was told.

Marin noted a letter from a partner at the law firm which, while supportive of the accused, also mentioned that he had used unacceptable language in addressing female staff at the firm and had to work at home at one point because of a perceived risk of altercation with staff.

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While losing his job at the law firm was undoubtedly a hardship, it must be viewed in context, said Marin. “In public, (the accused) was acting as an officer of the court and was offering services to the public as a member of the Law Society, while at home he was inflicting violence and abuse on his wife and children.”

In a victim impact statement, the accused’s wife said she had suffered emotionally, physically and economically at the hands of her husband.

“I’m still scared that he is going to try and destroy my life and take the children from me because that is what he told me he would do if I ever left him.”

Jeffrey Campbell, a lawyer for the accused, pointed to what he called the “collateral consequences” of his client’s convictions, including his loss of a profession and his loss of contact with his children.

“He has been disgraced. He is now destitute.”

The defence lawyer emphasized that there were two recurring themes in his client’s behaviour.

He noted the accused’s problems with substance abuse and that the assaults often happened while he was abusing alcohol.

And he said his client’s long-standing and unattended mental health problems were relevant to the determination of a proper sentence. Campbell called for a nine-month jail term. The judge is expected to impose sentence on March 2.



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