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Headbutting girlfriend in the face lands man in jail

Terrence McEachern
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Yellowknife man is going to jail after a family day at the beach in June turned into a violent assault hours later at home when he choked his girlfriend and then headbutted her in the face.

"I wanted nothing more than to love (him) and be a family, and now that will never be," the victim wrote in a statement read in court by Crown prosecutor Marc Lecorre on Sept. 14. "I am hurting every day and all day."

The remarks were read after Judge Bernadette Schmaltz found the 26-year-old boyfriend guilty of assaulting his girlfriend after a half-day trial that same day.

The 21-year-old victim testified that on June 21, she and the accused, accompanied by their son, now 15-months old, went to the beach near Fred Henne Territorial Park. Afterwards, they took a taxi to their apartment, and got into an argument because the boyfriend wanted to go back to the beach where his co-workers were drinking.

The argument escalated inside the apartment to the point where he grabbed her arm, threw her to the floor and started choking her.

When he got off her to take their son, she slapped him. That's when he yelled at her and headbutted her in the face, she testified. She ran to the balcony to yell for help while he threw a chair at the screen door. He then went down the hall, kicked a hole in the bathroom door and left the apartment. The RCMP arrived 10 minutes later.

Her eyes swelled up with tears when she said that during the attack, their son was in the room screaming.

Lecorre had police photos showing the woman's left cheek bruised three days later.

The boyfriend testified that he was sitting in a chair in the apartment arguing with her about going back to the beach and then to work for a couple of hours. He said she slapped him, but he never struck her. He admitted to kicking the bathroom door and taking a cab back to the beach. He was arrested by police on Old Airport Road near Gastown walking with his boss, heading for work.

Schmaltz said she found the boyfriend to be elusive on the witness stand, adding his evidence didn't make sense. After finding him guilty, the judge sentenced him to four months in jail for the assault.

She also sentenced him to and additional two months for staying out past his curfew on July 16 and for breaching a no-contact order on July 3 when he texted his girlfriend and said he loved her and their son and that he never meant to hurt them. He was also sentenced to one day in jail for breaking into his parents' home and taking their vehicle without permission on July 17.

The boyfriend's criminal record included an assault conviction against the same girlfriend on May 28, 2010, where he received one year of probation and a suspended sentence.

The offender chose not to speak to the court at sentencing. Schmaltz, however, lectured him for several minutes about the devastating and long-lasting effects family violence can have on both the woman and his son.

In addition to jail, Schmaltz sentenced him to one year of probation in which he is to take family violence counselling and to have no direct contact with the woman. Contact with the son is to follow the conditions set out in a custody judgment already awarded to the mother.

Schmaltz gave the boyfriend credit for 60 days in pre-trial custody since his July 17 arrest, meaning he has four months left to serve. He was also ordered to pay a $200 victims of crime surcharge.

Before adjourning, an Oct. 31 trial date was set for the man in relation to another assault charge involving the same woman as well as breaching a no-contact order.

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