News Local

No jail after groom drags bride by hair

By Michael Mui, 24 Hours Vancouver

GETTY IMAGES

GETTY IMAGES

It was the evening of their wedding day and the newlyweds were in their hotel when “angry words were exchanged” and he grabbed her hair, pulled her to her feet and — still holding onto her hair — dragged her around the hotel room before slapping her.

During the attack, she decided to be passive, hoping this would appease him — this was successful because he stopped.

She never called police, but told her sister what happened the next day. Her sister called police for her and he was charged with spousal assault.

These were the details captured in a decision, made this month, by the B.C. Provincial Court after the husband — who, along with his wife, is not named — pleaded guilty to assault.

However, Judge Ted Gouge determined the husband will be serving a condition discharge sentence, which means as long as he abides by conditions such as not consuming alcohol, he will not have to spend any time in jail, and have no criminal record after a period of 30 months.

The court noted how the man was unemployed during the time of the assault in August 2015 but has since become employed and abstains from drinking.

“Many victims of spousal assault are unable or unwilling to support a prosecution for psychological or economic reasons. In such cases, it is the duty of the state to intervene for their protection,” Gouge said, while acknowledging that the man’s wife did not wish for him to be punished.

In a letter to the court, the man’s wife pleaded with the court to give him a chance.

“Since the events of our wedding night, we have systematically, progressively worked on our communication together. We have explored and dug deep into all the underlying reasons that pushed us to collide on that night,” she said.

“We repeated our vows again in December, 2015, with the intent we would keep finding those joys that brought us together ... My plea to you is a selfish one. I would like the chance to once again enjoy my life fully and freely, with my chosen husband.”

In his decision, Gouge also noted the man had thrice been charged with criminal offences since 1984 — an assault, a theft and an indecent act — and was given conditions discharges each time.

“Thoughtful and well-informed members of the public would support sentencing measures which would assist in effecting changes in (the man’s) behaviour,” the judge wrote.

“(The man) is more likely to be a constructive participant if he believes that he will have the support of the justice system in addressing his issues.”