Kelowna man with long history of violence against women gets more time behind bars | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kelowna man with long history of violence against women gets more time behind bars

Kelowna Law Courts
August 22, 2020 - 7:30 AM

A 41-year-old Kelowna man who previously spent three months in prison for assaulting his partner has been sentenced to three-and-a-half years behind bars after he attacked her again during an alcohol- and cannabis-fueled argument following his release.

The assault left Shaun Earl Martin Costello's partner, who was 15 years younger than him, with a three-inch laceration on her face and a fractured bone. Her three-year-old daughter also witnessed the assault.

According to a decision published this week, Costello has a long history of abusing his partners "and their children" and received a four-year sentence in 2002 for the aggravated assault of a three-year-old child who had been left in his care. He has spent much of his adult life incarcerated largely as a result of serious assault convictions.

"Your history of violence, despite repeated interventions by provincial and federal correctional authorities, speaks volumes. It is apparent that you cannot control yourself during stressful situations and you become explosive," B.C. Supreme Court Justice Gary Weatherill said in the decision. "You violently assaulted a woman that you say you loved. It was excessive and unreasonable. That, Mr. Costello, is not love at all, but is the product of what I infer to be your controlling and domineering personality."

According to the decision Costello, and his partner, referred only as K.S. in the judgement, had an eight-month relationship while living together in Edmonton. He was 38 and she was 23 when they met. The relationship came to an end after he was arrested and remanded into custody after he assaulted her during an argument.

He was later sentenced to three months jail for the assault. Although a court order prevented him from contacting K.S., he telephoned her 450 times while in custody.

Once released, Costello began contacting K.S. and the two resumed their relationship and moved to the Lower Mainland. In Aug. 2019, travelling separately to avoid being caught in breach of the probation order, the couple headed to Kelowna for a camping vacation.

During the camping trip, Costello showed interest in another woman at the campsite and an argument and K.S. began hitting Costello. He responded by striking her once on the right side of the face causing the three-inch laceration to her cheek and fracturing the bone.

"K.S. immediately began screaming for help and adjacent campers called 9-1-1," says the decision. "Mr. Costello left the campground on foot before the police arrived."

Costello was arrested a day later in Airdrie, Alberta, and taken into custody. He was ordered not to have any contact with K.S. but instead wrote a letter to her grandmother. He later called the grandmother 27 times from custody.

According to the decision, K.S. had her daughter temporarily removed by the Ministry of Children and Family Development and suffers constant anxiety and exercises hypervigilance.

"She has permanent internal and external bruising and she says she does not have full control of her right eye," the decision says.

Costello argues that while the force of the blow was excessive he was defending himself and the assault was an overreaction not premeditated.

The decision says he submitted a handwritten letter to the Court expressing remorse for his behaviour.

"He says that he has untreated and improperly assessed medical health issues including anxiety, depression, and PTSD. He relates his mental health issues to growing up in an abusive home and to the violent sexual assault that he says occurred in 2018 while at the Edmonton remand centre," the decision says.

Costello claims while in custody in 2018 he was sexually assaulted by a corrections officer and now suffers from severe anxiety and depression.

"He says that he was punished with 205 days in administrative segregation on 23-hour-per-day lockup for launching a criminal investigation into what had transpired," the decision says.

The Crown sought a four-year sentence but defence lawyer Daniel McNamee argued Costello should receive a maximum sentence of two years, followed by probation. McNamee also argued Costello should receive a higher amount of credit for time already served due to COVID-19, as the pandemic has affected living conditions in custody which are now harsher.

"He says that since being incarcerated... he has been well-behaved and has had no institutional charges. He does not feel a long sentence is needed to teach him a lesson. He promises never to be before the court again," the decision says.

Justice Weatherill did not agree.

"Mr. Costello has an extensive prior record of violence towards previous intimate partners and children of his intimate partners. He has not been deterred by previously lengthy sentences of imprisonment," he said.

Justice Weatherill says there is "no such thing as 'COVID credit'" and Costello is not entitled to additional credit for time served in custody during the pandemic.

"Crimes of violence against intimate partners require denunciatory sentences," the justice said. "And using every ounce of restraint I can muster, I have determined that a fit, just, and a proportionate sentence would be one of three-and-a-half years incarceration and I impose that penalty as your sentence."

With time already served in custody, Costello will spend another 12 months behind bars.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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