Sexual assault, threats on former partner earns man nearly four years in jail | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Penticton News

Sexual assault, threats on former partner earns man nearly four years in jail

Aaron Mackenzie Motz will spend 3 and a half years in jail for sexually assaulting and threatening his ex-girlfriend after sentencing in Penticton court today, Nov. 2, 2018.

PENTICTON - Continued involvement in a toxic relationship eventually resulted in criminal actions that will cost a man three and half years in jail following his sentencing in court today.

Aaron Mackenzie Motz entered guilty pleas to assault and sexual assault with threats of bodily harm related to two separate incidents in Penticton court this morning, Nov. 2, after Judge Gregory Koturbash accepted a modified joint submission from Crown Prosecutor Nashina Devji and defence lawyer Jordan Watt.

Devji told court police were called to Motz’s girlfriend’s residence in Penticton around 2:36 p.m. on Oct. 4, 2017, after complaints Motz choked her.

The two had broken up the previous night, but Motz returned to her apartment the following day, when an argument ensued. The woman told police he choked until she blacked out.

By the time she recovered, Motz had left.

Motz was subsequently arrested and released under a number of strict conditions, including staying away from his ex- girlfriend.

While still under those bail conditions, police were once again summoned to the woman’s house on Jan. 28, 2018, around 9:24 a.m.

She told police she had been held against her will overnight by her ex boyfriend, who had also sexually assaulted her.

She had messaged Motz to come over the previous evening, picking him up and bringing him back to her apartment where he inadvertently saw a text message that angered him.

He choked the woman again, sexually assaulted and embarrassed her over the course of the evening and threatened to kill her, even forcing her to write a farewell message to her parents.

It wasn’t until the next morning she was able to text message a friend for help. She was also able to call 911 and leave the line open. Motz left before police arrived, but they later arrested him.

The woman was taken to hospital where her injuries were found to be consistent with the events she described.

Devji called the circumstances particularly aggravating, as Motz choked the woman, who was also recently pregnant with Motz’ son, unconscious. She said the actions had elements of unlawful confinement, noting his behaviour had taken place in the woman’s apartment, where she had a right to feel safe, in the confines of a domestic relationship.

She called Motz’ second assault an “incredibly serious and traumatic experience.”

Devji did call Motz’ guilty pleas a significant factor in terms of mitigating circumstances, calling it a big step forward in accepting responsibility.

Motz’ youthful age and lack of criminal record up to now were also factors in his favour, she said.

Watt said his 24-year-old client was very remorseful and took full responsibility for his actions.

Although his parents had split up when Motz was a child, he maintained healthy and loving relationships with both parents. Although drugs and alcohol factored in his behaviour during the two incidents, he said his client did not suffer from ongoing drug or alcohol issues.

The lawyer also credited his client with a request to enter guilty pleas rather than go to trial, calling it an “unusual situation.”

He said it was rare for these types of allegations to be resolved without a trial, because of the seriousness of the allegations and the potentially stiff jail terms.

Motz told Judge Koturbash he had time to reflect on his actions while in custody and on house arrest, and the effect they had on his victim and both their families.

“I feel sincere remorse for my actions. I want to do everything I can towards healing, for everyone affected by this. The relationship between us had been rocky for a while, and I wasn’t aware enough to realize the downward spiral I was in, and instead of taking a step back, I enabled myself to bottle up my unresolved emotions,” he told the court, adding when he found out about the pregnancy it “heightened everything to a new level.”

“It led to a series of bad choices on my behalf. On the night of the crimes, I was under the influence of drugs and alcohol, a bad choice of coping with the emotional turmoil I was in,” he said.

Motz said he was sincerely sorry and hoped to be “mindful and self aware to everything in my power", adding he hoped to play a positive role in his son’s future and would apply himself to rehabilitation to ensure nothing like this ever happens again.

The judge agreed with Crown’s assessment of the circumstances, saying Motz’ actions carried a degree of confinement as well as believable threats of death to his victim, who was also pregnant at the time. He said the second assault was prolonged, as well as containing acts of degradation, adding Motz was on a no-contact order when that assault occurred.

The judge also said Motz demonstrated remorse for his deeds and his youth made him a good candidate for rehabilitation. He said the man’s guilty plea, though not early, saved the expense of a trial and the trauma it would have caused his victim.

He agreed to the joint submission of three and a half years in jail, but modified it to impose a 180-day concurrent sentence for the initial assault instead of the 60-day sentence requested, in order to more properly reflect the gravity of the crime.

The change in the concurrent sentence will not affect the total amount of time Motz will serve.

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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