Man jailed for assaulting woman - Oct. 16, 2013
A 27-year-old man with a history of alcohol-fueled domestic violence received a stern lecture from Judge David C. Walker Friday, along with a four-month jail term.
In sentencing Philip Albert Anderson of St. Stephen, Walker said the man’s crime – a prolonged assault that culminating in choking his female victim to the point she feared for her life – demanded Anderson spend time behind bars.
Crown prosecutor Shara Munn had requested a jail term, outlining an assault and a domestic violence incident in 2010, crimes for which Anderson received conditional sentences.
Munn told the court the victim, a former intimate partner of Anderson, expressed fear of the man’s behavior once he began drinking on Jan. 8, 2013.
“Oh, God, here we go again,” stated the victim, in her victim impact statement, of which only portions were read aloud to court.
Though the two were not living together at the time of the incident, Munn said the previous relationship between Anderson and the victim meant the incident had to be treated as an example of intimate partner violence.
Anderson, said Munn, fully recognizes that alcohol is a problem for him, and is a direct trigger for his past choices to abuse his partners, but has not done anything to address that problem.
“Here we have him, in 2013, going out, getting drunk, and then coming back to the (victim’s) house,” said Munn, who described the incident as a serious assault. “This isn’t a push, this isn’t him grabbing (the victim’s) arms … he’s physically choking her, to the point that she’s so scared, she thinks she’s going to die.”
Further, the incident was witnessed by two children, Munn declared, as she called for a four- to six-month term in jail, along with a probation order barring contact with the victim.
Anderson, she said, had expressed a desire to retain contact and reconcile his differences with the victim, which Munn declared as “not a good idea.”
“He probably shouldn’t have any partner,” until he deals with his violence and alcohol issues, Munn declared.
Defence lawyer Jeremy Erickson said Anderson, “has had a pretty rough go” of his life, having witnessed domestic violence as a child. Further, said Erickson, in 2011, Anderson’s life was rocked by the death of both his grandmother, a key force in his life, as well as his brother. That, he reasoned, would explain why Anderson struggled with rehabilitating himself during conditional sentences issued in 2010.
Erickson called for a conditional sentence, stating Anderson had pledged to stop drinking.
Asked if he wished to make any statements, Anderson, dressed in desert-camouflage Capri shorts and a non-descript shirt, stood and said he did.
“I realize that back in 2010, my first incidents, I realized what the problem was,” he said, adding that after the death of his brother and grandmother, “I didn’t have nobody I could open up to, so I turned to alcohol.”
Anderson said he “couldn’t cope,” with his bereavement, adding, “I realize now, alcohol wasn’t the way to go.”
Conditional sentences issued in 2010 were chances to reform that Anderson had squandered, Walker said.
“You had every opportunity at that time to find your treatment, and to find solution to your problems,” said Walker. “You say you were successful in that, but you weren’t successful, because not too long after that, you were back … seeking comfort from a bottle.”
Anderson didn’t use the tools provided to him, Walker summarized, before stating that he didn’t believe claims the deaths of two relatives in 2011 had a connection to Anderson’s 2013 assault on his former partner.
As with other points in his life, Anderson, on that day in January, had every opportunity to make other choices, but didn’t, the judge stated.
“(The victim) knew the problems you had with drinking, and you forced yourself, quite frankly, into her home that night.
“That’s a serious assault,” said Walker, one he said has caused long-term psychological impacts on the victim.
Walker also said the man’s exposure to domestic violence as a child did not, in any way, diminish the choices Anderson had made now, as an adult.
“It may be that your behavior now, is a result of that… but it’s you that makes the choices,” lectured Walker. “That’s your choice. It’s not written in stone that every child that witnesses abuse turns out to be an abuser.”
Walker noted the man had initially pled not guilty, then later this year changed his plea. The decision to delay the plea change had led to more psychological harm for the man’s victim, the judge said.
Anderson has repeatedly failed to address his problems with drinking, which in turn has led to shattered relationships, and he ignored opportunities to complete his education, find work, or address his addictions to alcohol and marijuana, Walker stated, before delivering his sentence.
The seriousness of the violence perpetrated by Anderson upon his former partner demanded jail, both as a deterrence to others, and to send a message to Anderson, the judge said Friday morning. He explained the time has long come for the 27-year-old man standing before him to make better choices, and recognize the impact of choices made in the past.
Walker decreed a four-month jail sentence, and 12 months of unsupervised probation, with orders to keep the peace and not to contact the victim, nor be in any place she resides.
Shortly before Anderson hugged an unidentified female prior to being taken into custody, Walker said he would not demand addictions treatment, counselling or other treatment. That, the judge said, was – like Anderson’s past decisions to drink, and his past assaults on intimate partners, a choice for Anderson to make himself.
“You know where the doors are. You can go and open them.”