© File photo
Brian Penney is seen in provincial court in this file photo.
CORNER BROOK — A junior high school teacher in Corner Brook who pleaded guilty to assaulting his former spouse will not have a conviction entered on his criminal record.
Brian David Penney, 47, was granted a conditional discharge when he was sentenced by Judge Wayne Gorman in provincial court Thursday afternoon.
Penney, who was also given 12 months of probation, was involved in a domestic dispute with his estranged wife on Sept. 8, 2012.
Crown attorney Lori St. Croix had asked for 60 to 90 days in jail. She said Penney could have served such a sentence on weekends and it would not endanger his present employment.
The Crown also sought 18 months of probation.
St. Croix had argued the court’s primary emphasis in this case should be placed upon the sentencing principles of deterrence and denunciation. In addition to the assault, which Gorman agreed was “a serious one,” she also referenced the nature of the relationship between Penney and his ex-wife in support of her position.
Gorman, however, agreed with the sentencing submission of defence lawyer Robby Ash.
The defence’s argument was that conditional sentences have been granted for cases involving more serious assaults and that the court should also consider Penney’s age, his employment status, his guilty plea and his lack of a criminal record.
Gorman said the notion of restraint in sentencing is a fundamental principle in Canada, especially when dealing with first-time offenders. He said a conditional discharge in this case would not be contrary to the public’s interest and would be in Penney’s best interests.
“Though there is much to criticize as regards Mr. Penney’s actions on Sept. 8, 2012, it constitutes an isolated incident and Mr. Penney has sought counseling on his own initiative,” said Gorman, reading from his written decision in the case.
In addition to not having any contact or communication with the victim, except in accordance with a court order, Penney was also ordered to contribute $500 to a women’s shelter in the province.
“I am satisfied that the inclusion of this condition will facilitate Mr. Penney's reintegration into the community by allowing him to make reparations for the harm done to the community as a result of his offence,” Gorman wrote in his decision regarding the charitable contribution. “Spousal assault must be seen as a crime against the entire community. I am satisfied that this condition will assist Mr. Penney in acknowledging responsibility for his offence and for the harm he has caused.”