A man has won an appeal of his four-month jail sentence for hitting a woman so hard in the face at a South Surrey party that she required surgery, and will instead serve two years probation.
Dayne Walter Jones had his prison sentence set aside in B.C. Supreme Court Jan. 10.
He was initially sentenced to jail in September 2013 for punching and injuring the woman after pleading guilty to assault causing bodily harm six months earlier.
In his appeal, Jones argued the trial judge failed to take into account that he was a first-time offender when imposing a prison term and didn’t consider whether a conditional sentence order was appropriate in the case.
The incident occurred in June 2011 after Jones met the woman – who asked that her name not be published – at a club in Surrey. Both were consuming alcohol, “the appellant to excess,” reads the court decision. They and their friends left the club to go to a late-night party at a house in South Surrey.
Jones was in a car with the woman and her friends. On the way, the two began arguing about directions and Jones got out of the car. The woman and her friends arrived at the house and Jones came with his friends shortly after.
The two argued further and Jones spat on the woman before punching her once on the left side of her face, knocking her to the ground. Jones then left the scene.
The punch fractured the woman’s orbital bone and she required surgery. She told the court she still suffers from numbness in the area, though does not have visible scarring.
Jones was 25 at the time of the offence and is now 28. He had no prior criminal record and the appeal decision says the offence appears to have been “completely out of character.”
Prior to the incident, Jones, who is an avid baseball player and youth coach, was experimenting with steroids to improve his performance. In retrospect, he realized the drugs caused him to become irritable and quick to anger and he stopped using them. He also attended an anger management program and attending counselling sessions.
Justice Gregory Fitch said under the circumstances, two years probation would sufficiently deter and denounce his actions. Jones is also required to complete 100 hours of community service by the end of the year.
Fitch said Jones represented no ongoing risk to the community and seeks to make amends for his actions.
“His actions in this regard, including the steps he took after the offence but prior to the imposition of sentence, are, in my experience, unusual and much to his credit,” said Fitch. “The appellant is certainly moving in a positive direction and it is in the interests of the community to continue to support the appellant in his rehabilitative efforts.”
The suspended sentence means Jones will still have a criminal record.