Here we have a man who choked a woman he allegedly cared for, spat on her, burned her with a cigarette, head-butted her, pushed her against a wall.
Not in a fit of rage – this happened over four days.
And what do we also have?
The state dickering over whether he should be sentenced to a conditional discharge –meaning no accompanying criminal record – or a conditional sentence, which is essentially a euphemism for house arrest.
Of course, in Canada, the courts upheld the most lenient of two lenient possibilities after the Crown appealed this particular conditional discharge as “demonstrably unfit,” and lost.
What kind of message does this send? We’ll tell you what kind – the wrong one.
The judge handling the appeal noted that one of the mitigating factors weighing in this guy’s favour is that he’s Aboriginal.
That gives him license to burn a woman with a cigarette?
Choke her? Etcetera?
The appeal judge explained that a conditional discharge was an available option because there is no minimum punishment for assault. Under Section 730 of the Criminal Code absolute and conditional discharges are provided for unless the code prescribes a minimum sentence, or a maximum sentence of 14 years or more. Given the Crown proceeded summarily, the maximum sentence would have been 18 months.
The Surrey provincial court judge who sentenced this young man noted it’s in his “best interest” to receive a conditional discharge. You don’t have to be Solomon to figure that out.
He’s young, she noted. He wants “to go forward.” Wants to “be involved and have opportunities.”
Why not throw him a parade?
The young woman he attacked, who was three years younger than him, likely wanted to live her life free of being burned, choked, spat on…
But what does she get?
An insulting court ruling, to add to her humiliation and pain.
That’s what she gets.