Sven Brett Connor, 37, was sentenced on Friday to five years imprisonment for seven offenses in which the victim/complainant was a former girlfriend.
The offenses, summarized by Crown counsel Garcia Kelly, included one assault causing actual bodily harm, two common assaults, three offenses of causing harassment, alarm or distress, and one count of attempting to pervert the course of justice.
The offenses occurred between May and November 2017.
The assaults took place in May, July and August.
On two occasions in August, Mr. Connor told the woman he would shoot her in her face. In November, his words were, “When I come out of prison I will kill you.”
In November he attempted to pervert the course of justice by offering the woman $1,000 to “drop the charges” and not give evidence as a witness in a judicial proceeding.
Mr. Kelly said the woman and the defendant became involved in an intimate relationship in 2015. There were occasions when she made reports to police about Mr. Connor but then dropped the matters when he asked her to.
Things changed in 2017 when Mr. Connor assaulted her and caused actual bodily harm at a restaurant on West Bay Road, Mr. Kelly said. He outlined other offenses, including an assault and threat that occurred at her workplace.
Defense attorney Alex Davies said Mr. Connor accepted that his was a serious course of offending. The relationship had been “toxic and volatile” and Mr. Connor had been injured by the woman on one occasion but had dropped the matter at her request.
The defendant had written a letter expressing remorse and acknowledging his “stupid and jealous” behavior.
For the actual bodily harm charge, he admitted that he and the woman had been arguing and there was pushing and shoving; she tried to hit him and he hit her, pushing her to the ground and causing injury to her face. The defendant did not accept that he had kicked her in the face – there were bruises and abrasions, but no broken nose. The attorney agreed that it may have been more by luck than good sense that the injuries were not more serious. There was a notable lack of premeditation, Mr. Davies pointed out, and no weapon was used.
The assault in July occurred after an incident that caused emotional distress to Mr. Connor and he blamed the woman for it.
The attorney described Mr. Connor’s difficult upbringing and history. He was unable to deal with high levels of emotional stress. Now he wanted to change his behavior, apologize to the woman and throw himself on the mercy of the court. The matter had been set for trial and Mr. Connor could have wasted the court’s time, Mr. Davies noted. He asked for a 25-percent discount.
Asked if he wanted to address the judge directly, Mr. Connor said, “It’s all my fault. I take responsibility. I’m the man; I’m supposed to walk away. If I do see her on the street, I’m going to stay far away.”
Justice Carlisle Greaves described the offending as a relentless pattern of conduct in which Mr. Connor had continuously bullied the complainant and exacted her obedience by a pattern of beating and threats.
“No woman should be subject to treatment such as this,” he commented.
The loyalty and love of a woman cannot be bought by brutality, the judge continued.
“Women are to be loved, not beaten and those who, like the defendant, choose to beat them demonstrate their own weakness, insecurity and personal self-hatred,” Justice Greaves declared.
He said the courts had to send a strong message that women will be protected by the courts and the men who beat them will pay a stiff penalty.
“I hold the view that until you completely change, you are unfit for the company and affection of anyone’s daughter,” he said.
A sentencing concern was totality and whether sentences should be consecutive or concurrent.
He imposed 18 months for the assault causing actual bodily harm. He said aggravating factors raised the sentence for the first common assault to 15 months, but a discount of three months took it back down to 12 months, which he made consecutive.
The three August offenses were close in time, so he made those sentences of 12 months concurrent to each other, but consecutive to the earlier sentences.
He found no mitigating factors in the two November offenses and imposed 12 months on each.
The judge concluded that the final sentence was five and a half years. Mr. Davies noted that the maximum sentence for common assault is 12 months, so the judge adjusted his sentences and arrived at a total of five years.
The defendant asked about credit for his time in custody, which was 10 months.
The prosecutor pointed out that Mr. Connor had been subject to a suspended sentence of four months, which could be deducted from the time in custody, leaving Mr. Connor with credit for six months. The defendant was not happy with that course, but was told to watch out before he made the judge go back into his office and calculate again.