Benjamin James McBeath choked his wife into unconsciousness after she discovered him hiding in her bedroom less than two months after the pair had separated.
The “submission hold” was used on his wife three times over the course of that evening last Sept. 27, before leaving her semi-conscious in a driveway and abducting his son. McBeath was arrested en route to turn himself in at Surrey RCMP.
But despite remorse that has been expressed since, the degree of violence against his spouse – along with other aggressive behaviour noted over the course of a sentencing hearing – can’t be ignored, Judge James Bahen said Friday afternoon in Surrey Provincial Court.
“They provide strong inferences of a risk of future violence,” Bahen said.
McBeath, 35, has been in custody since his arrest. Friday, Bahen ruled the Correctional Service Canada employee would remain in jail for another 30 months as a result of his actions.
The sentence includes three concurrent three-year terms, one for each offence committed Sept. 27 – abduction of a child under 16, assault causing bodily harm and being unlawfully in a dwelling house – and two months in connection with an Aug. 31 assault on his wife, minus eight months for time served.
While defence lawyer Mark Rowan had argued that time served followed by probation was a fair sentence for his client, particularly given the efforts taken while in custody to address substance-abuse issues and improve himself, Bahen found a firmer message was needed.
“He cannot be released into the community until there has been an effort to reduce the risk he poses,” he said.
Bahen also ordered that McBeath provide a DNA sample and be prohibited from owning weapons.
Prosecutor Brian Shaw had asked for a sentence of more than two years.
Outside court, Rowan wouldn’t say if he was disappointed by the sentence, but did say he wasn’t surprised by it.
“I’m never surprised by what judges do,” he said. “But it’s unusual for a judge to impose a sentence that is considerably longer than what Crown is asking for.
“The judge made some mistakes in some of the evidence that was considered.”