June 10, 2016 - 1:00 PM
KAMLOOPS - A man with the Upper Nicola Valley First Nation has been sentenced to more than four months behind bars after pleading guilty to assaulting his former partner.
Clifford McRae pleaded guilty to assault, breach of undertaking or recognizance and storage of a firearm contrary to regulation. McRae is also facing several other charges including forcible confinement and unauthorized possession of a firearm, all of which he is expected to plead guilty to.
In a Kamloops Provincial Courtroom today, June 10, prosecutor Neil Flanagan told the court the circumstances behind the charges. There was an incident on Dec. 13, 2014, which led to the forcible confinement charge. Flanagan would not go into detail about the incident, but it did lead to an order for McRae to not contact his former partner Gloria Swakum. He spent four days in custody after that, but was ultimately released.
Flanagan says on May 28 of this year, McRae contacted Swakum and asked her to come over and watch TV. She accepted the invitation and went over to his house.
They both began drinking and were lying on separate couches while watching TV. Flanagan said Swakum told him that was when McRae began to "call her down" in a way she found hurtful and disrepectful.
The court heard Swakum threw an ashtray at McRae, put her on the floor and punched her repeatedly for 5 to 10 minutes.
Flanagan handed Judge Stella Frame three pages of photographs which showed the injuries Swakum received. Swakum had previously insisted the pictures be shown to McRae.
"I think her concern was she wanted him to know she was certainly injured by the assault," Flanagan told the court.
McRae was arrested at the scene. Police also seized two rifles at the time.
Flanagan said the accused's probation officer in Merritt said McRae has a lenthy history of spousal violence.
One thing Justice Frame said she found troubling in the hearing was the relationship between the accused and the victim was "of significant comfort to her."
"I hear someone say 'Well he's the only thing I've got' and you give me this?" Frame said as she held up the pictures showing Swakum's bruises.
Defence lawyer Richard Kaizer said his client was "mortified" and "not proud" of his actions, adding McRae didn't fully recall the incident.
Frame sentenced McRae to four months in jail for the assault and 30 days behind bars for the firearm offence. Part of McRae's one year probation includes no contact with Swakum in jail or on his probation, a firearms prohibition for five years except for hunting and he must seek alcohol and violence counselling.
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