Thursday, June 24, 2010
Man with alcohol issues and troubled upbringing, sentenced to 6 years prison
A Winnipeg man has been sentenced to six years in prison for a pair of vicious attacks that left his victims nursing lifelong injuries.
Terry Quill, 32, pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated assault.
Police arrested Quill in March 2009 after Quill and several other men attacked the victim as he was walking in the area of Balmoral Avenue and Spence Street. Court heard the victim, an African immigrant, was wearing a ball cap with an abbreviation on it that Quill interpreted as a racial slur.
Following an exchange of words the men set upon the victim and Quill beat him in the groin with a board, rupturing one of his testicles.
Quill was rearrested last March after he and several other men attacked a bouncer at the St. Regis Hotel. A beer bottle was broken over the man's head and he suffered permanent eye damage.
Quill's sentence was two years less than recommended by the Crown. Judge Ted Lismer said eight years was an appropriate sentence for the two individual assaults but elected to reduce it by two years, citing the totality principle.
The totality principle is invoked in cases where multiple convictions and consecutive sentences can result in disproportionately long prison terms.
Defence lawyer Lori VanDongen said Quill pleaded guilty to the March 2009 attack against her advice. She said witnesses at a preliminary hearing provided unreliable testimony and there was no physical evidence linking Quill to the assault.
"At the end of the day he probably wouldn't be convicted of the offence," she said.
Both attacks were fueled by alcohol, VanDongen said, adding Quill has a history of becoming violent when he is drinking.
"On a normal day, walking down the street, Mr. Quill is able to contain his emotions," she said.
Quill's violent ways are the fruit of a troubled upbringing, VanDongen said.
"People aren't born violent... they become what they see," she said. "Unfortunately that warps you."
Lismer credited Quill 15 1/2 months for time already served, reducing his remaining sentence to just over 4 1/2 years.
I disagree with this sentence completely. This man should have received 18 months in prison combined with a conditional sentence. 6 years is far too harsh in my opinion. This man's criminal behaviour was fuelled by alcohol issues and his troubled upbringing. I believe this man could benefit from alcohol treatment, counseling to address the issues involving his childhood and emotion management and violence prevention programs. Prison will not address the underlying issues and root causes of this man's behaviour. I only say he should be sentenced to some prison time because he does pose some danger to society and prison may help to remove him from alcohol for a time period. But 6 years is far too harsh. Longer prison sentences are revenge, not justice.