Man gets house arrest for drunken Penticton assault | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Man gets house arrest for drunken Penticton assault

Image Credit: FILE PHOTO

PENTICTON - A Fort St. John man will serve an eight-month conditional sentence for the unprovoked attack on a man at the Penticton Lakeside Resort.

Jacques Roger Germain, 34, pled guilty to assault causing harm in Penticton court today, Dec. 10, 2018.

Crown prosecutor Ann Lerchs told court the charge stemmed from an assault at the Penticton Lakeside Resort around 4 p.m. on June 17, 2017.

Police responding to a call of an assault found the victim lying on the concrete in front of the main entrance to the hotel. He was treated by B.C. Ambulance personnel and transported to Penticton Regional Hospital.

Several witnesses provided statements to police, in addition to video surveillance of the incident.

Video showed two men entering the hotel through the rear doors of the lobby. Germain was identified as one of the men, who appeared agitated as he moved toward the victim and blocked his path.

Several other men nearby attempted to intervene, but Germain pushed them aside, punching the victim in the face before exiting out the main lobby doors.

The victim fell to the floor but got up and went out the front doors after Germain, where he was struck and knocked down a second time.

Witnesses told police Germain issued verbal threats in addition to calling the victim names, at one point spitting on him before punching him.

The victim had been in the restaurant and was in the process of paying his bill when two drunken men entered the establishment.

One man was heard calling the server a “fat cow” and a “bitch.”

As the victim left the restaurant with his girlfriend, one of the men bumped into him and began calling him names.

The victim said he didn’t want any trouble, and attempted to avoid confrontation, but the man pursued him into the lobby where he was struck the first time.

The victim momentarily lost consciousness from the blows, suffering a minor concussion, a cut to the head and some abrasions. He suffered nausea for several days afterwards and was off work for more than a week.

Police arrested Germain as he was making his way to the Slumber Lodge Motel. He appeared “badly inebriated” and confused. He was arrested and released early the next morning.

Lerchs noted Germain’s criminal record included a 2005 conviction for assault. She called the current incident not one, but two assaults that happened seconds apart.

"Mr. Germain punched (the victim), unprovoked, while the victim, by all accounts, tried to de-escalate the situation and get away from Mr. Germain,” she said.

“It’s an assault by a stranger on a stranger, in the middle of the afternoon, in a public place. It appears quite brazen,” she said, asking Judge Dennis Morgan for a six-month jail term followed by 18 months probation.

Defence lawyer Brian Fitzpatrick said the second punch thrown by his client was due to the victim’s pursuit of Germain, calling the two incidents “different scenarios.”

He said his client would lose considerable income if sentenced with a jail term, including the loss of contract work. Germain is also sole breadwinner for his partner and their daughter.

Fitzpatrick told court Germain had come to Penticton for a wedding that was cancelled shortly after his arrival in the city. A large number of guests were in Penticton for the affair and tensions between wedding groups resulted in Germain drinking to excess the day of the assault.

The lawyer produced a number of character testimonials in Germain’s favour, adding his client had little recollection of the events of that day.

Germain has since been undergoing counselling, and has not been involved in any unlawful activity since the incident. Fitzpatrick asked for a 10-month conditional sentence and probationary period of 12 to 18 months.

Germain told Judge Morgan he took full responsibility for his actions, saying he wished to apologize to the victim.

Judge Morgan said he did not believe the second assault was any less aggravating due to the victim’s pursuit of Germain, noting the accused’s behaviour included spitting and humiliating insults in an assault that occurred in public, in the afternoon.

He also took into account Germain’s guilty plea, while not early, was timely enough not to cause undue hardship amongst witnesses and the court.

Assessing Germain not to be a risk to the public, the judge issued a conditional sentence of eight months followed by 12 months probation.

Germain also faces a restitution order for $423, a five-year firearms ban, and a restriction from drug and alcohol use. He will also be allowed to apologize to his victim.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad or call 250-488-3065 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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