No jail time for North Okanagan man who hit friend with a machete - InfoNews

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No jail time for North Okanagan man who hit friend with a machete

February 04, 2020 - 6:00 PM

A 23-year-old North Okanagan man who hit a friend in the face with a machete in a "completely out of character" attack, after a bar fight over a girl quickly escalated, has avoided jail time.

Vernon court heard Monday, Feb. 3, how Jurrell Thomas Langton was waiting for the police to arrive at his Armstrong property after the events that took place June 1, 2019, and was "polite and cooperative" when police took him into custody.

Langton was with a group of friends including the 21-year-old complainant, described as a "long time friend," drinking at the Branding Iron Pub in Armstrong. Langton got into a heated argument with his friend over a girl and the two consented to a fight outside the pub. A few punches were thrown and the pair were split-up by their friends. Langton then drove off in his van.

A friend reported speaking to Langton shortly after the fight and saw that in rage Langton had stabbed a machete into the dashboard of his vehicle. The friend pulled the knife out of the dashboard and tossed it into the back of the van.

A few minutes later Langton returned to the pub, where his friend was standing outside, and got out of his van brandishing the machete. He swung it at the 21-year-old victim hitting him in the face. The victims lost three teeth in the incident and was left with a two centimetre scar near his lips. Following the attack, Langton drove home.

Langton was charged with aggravated assault, although pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of assault causing bodily harm in September 2019.

Defence lawyer Joseph Deuling told the court his client's behaviour was completely "out of character" on the night of the incident and requested a suspended sentence. Deuling pointed out Langton had no criminal record, worked full-time, and had no history of violent behaviour.

Crown lawyer James Bagan argued the level of violence was too severe to warrant a non-custodial sentence and argued for six to nine months of jail time.

"In many ways, he was extremely lucky it was not a blow (to) another part of his head," Bagan told the court.

He argued the public would "not be satisfied" with a lesser sentence considering the high degree of violence that took place "between close friends."

"If this could happen to a close friend what other danger could happen to another member of the public," Bagan said.

The victim's mother sat in the courtroom quietly sobbing throughout the sentencing.

Langton appeared in the courtroom with several family members and his employer. Deuling told the court on numerous occasions the incident was "out of character" for his client and he'd made a "very poor choice." The lawyer said the only reason Langton had a machete in his van was that he used the vehicle for camping trips and the attack was not premeditated.

Deuling said Langton took full responsibility for his actions and was remorseful. The defence lawyer said his client came from a stable family, had no anger management or drug and alcohol issues. He'd been described by his boss as a "calm, devoted, role-model employee."

Judge Andrew Tam said the degree of violence used was aggravating and the Crown's submission for six to eight months of jail time was reasonable.

However, Tam ruled a conditional sentence was appropriate and sentenced Langton to 18-months house arrest, with a multitude of conditions and a provision so he could go to work.

Along with 12-months probation, Langton was also ordered to paid $11,553.50 to the victim to cover his dental bills.

Prior to being sentenced Langton stood in the courtroom and said he wanted to apologize to the victim, as well as all his friends that witnessed the incident that night.


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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