Extreme remorse results in conditional discharge for violent domestic assault

Stories from the February 1, 2017, sitting of Revelstoke court.

Court convenes in Revelstoke this first Wednesday of every month.

A Revelstoke man who beat up his common law wife in a drunken haze was given a conditional discharge after convincing the judge of his extreme remorse in Revelstoke court last week.

Crown prosecutor Bill Hilderman told the court that police were called to a home in Columbia Park early on Dec. 18, 2016.

He said the accused punched and choked the victim until she couldn’t breathe, then locked her out of the house in freezing cold weather.

But, Hilderman said, the accused didn’t fear further violence and he suggested a suspended sentence with 12 months probation as punishment.

Amy Schalles, the lawyer for the defendant, said the accused, 26, was so drunk at the time of the incident he didn’t remember it until the next morning. After, he took full responsibility and was extremely remorseful.

The victim and accused have been together since 2009 and have a child together. Because of the incident, he was denied contact with his son and was living with his employer.

“He was horrified at what happened and wants to make amends as quickly as possible,” Schalles said.

The accused wrote a letter of apology and entered counselling. He also received a glowing letter of reference from his employer.

“I suggest this is a situation where a discharge would be appropriate,” said Schalles. “He’s made sincere efforts to put this matter behind him.”

Judge Dennis Morgan agreed with the defence’s submissions.

“It takes an exceptional case for a conditional discharge in a domestic violence situation to be awarded. That’s because part of the public interest is to discourage domestic violence and to send a strong deterrent to others,” he said. “I find this is one of those exceptional cases… There’s evidence of very extreme remorse.”

He put the accused on 18 months probation, with one of the key conditions being that if the victim ordered him to leave the house, he would have to do so and wouldn’t be allowed to return unless the probation officer gave permission.

Man who hit bouncer sentenced

A Revelstoke man who got in an altercation with a bouncer at the Last Drop was given a 45-day conditional sentence in court last week.

Ryan Matthew Hall, 31, was sentenced after pleading guilty to assault and to violating the terms of his probation.

Crown prosecutor Bill Hilderman said the incident occurred on Dec. 6, 2015 at around 2 a.m. when Hall hit a bouncer that was trying to get Hall to leave the pub.

As well, by being at the Last Drop, Hall breached a probation order saying he couldn’t enter any bars.

Hilderman noted Hall’s lengthy arrest record, including numerous convictions for breach of probation, and said he should be jailed.

Hall’s lawyer Chris Johnston said he was ready to move forward in his life and was waiting to enter treatment for his drinking problem.

Judge Dennis Morgan proved lenient, handing down the 45-day conditional sentence, meaning no jail time, along with 12 months probation. “He’s about the age where he’s one of the old guys at the correctional centre,” said Morgan. “Maybe he’s starting to turn the corner now.”

Thieves get conditional discharges

Two men received conditional discharges after pleading guilty to separate thefts in Revelstoke court last week.

In the first case that was heard, Judge Dennis Morgan gave a conditional discharge to a man who stole two bottles of rum worth $150 from the Last Call Liquor Store.

The court heard the man entered the store with some friends on Nov. 1 at about 3:15 p.m. His friends tried to distract the clerk while he grabbed the two bottles and walked out. The clerk wasn’t fooled and called the police on the man, who was later arrested and charged.

The man, 29, told the court he was drunk at the time. “It was a stupid thing. I don’t have an explanation for it.”

Morgan said he didn’t want to saddle the man with a criminal record, so he gave him a conditional discharge with 12 months of probation.

In the second case, an employee of Denny’s was given a conditional discharge after pleading guilty to stealing $1,182 in deposits from the restaurant.

The employee told the court he stole the money to pay medical bills and house bills. He said he apologized to the company after being caught and paid the money back out of his outstanding vacation pay.

Prosecutor Bill Hilderman said the Crown was only seeking a conditional discharge. Judge Morgan called it a very generous offer. “When you talk about theft from an employer, there’s a breach of trust involved,” he said. “Usually they’re made an example of for everybody else.”

Still, he went with the Crown’s recommendation, giving the man a conditional discharge and 12 months probation, during which he must complete community service.


Editor’s note: Why did we publish Ryan Matthew’s Hall name and not the names of the other guilty men? We have adopted a policy at the Review to not name people granted a conditional discharge. Our rationale is we feel if the judge saw fit to not saddle the individual with a criminal record, we won’t harm their reputation by publishing their names. The names are available for those who know where to look. We still report on these matters because we feel it is important to report on criminal actions in Revelstoke and the rulings of the court as both are in the public interest.

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