A 48-year-old man who burned a woman on her face with a hot knife has been sentenced to 10 months in jail and three years of probation for his crimes.
Michael Black, who is originally from Behchoko but now lives in Yellowknife, was handed the sentence by judge Bernadette Schmaltz in territorial court on Monday.
The man’s convictions arise from incidents that happened between April and July last year.
RCMP were called to a housing unit belonging to the North Slave Housing Corporation last July where a woman said she was assaulted by Black, according to a statement of facts read in court.
The woman had multiple marks on her body, including a burn on her lips.
She told police Black assaulted her while he was drunk, bit her and burned her on the face with a hot knife.
Black also threatened to kill her and then beat her everywhere but her stomach after she’d had surgery there, the statement said.
In another incident, Black broke orders not to contact the woman by approaching her and banging on the window of a vehicle she fled to in order to avoid him on the street.
Black was originally charged with breaching court orders, assault, assault with a weapon and assault causing bodily harm.
He pleaded guilty to the assault with a weapon charge and was found guilty of breaching court orders.
The other two assault charges were withdrawn.
Victim impact statements read in court described the emotional and physical suffering the woman experienced because of Black’s violent actions.
She said she walks around town fearing for her life and worries Black is out to get her.
She has since lost her home and worries he will go after her again, the statement said.
Black has a criminal record with three previous convictions involving violence, the most recent being from 1996, the court heard.
Both Judge Schmaltz and Black’s defense lawyer, Tracy Bock, said they found it difficult to explain why Black offended again after so many years.
Bock said Black grew up in a loving home free of alcohol or violence, although he experienced bullying in school and became involved in relationships later in life that were “not good.”
Crown prosecutor Trevor Johnson suggested the judge impose a sentence of 10 months plus probation, while Bock suggested a similar sentence.
Black apologized for his actions before receiving his sentence, saying he won’t be back in court if he stays sober.
“I don’t want to be here,” he said, adding he hopes to get treatment.
But Schmaltz suggested alcohol wasn’t the only thing that caused him to reoffend.
“There’s something more than alcohol,” Schmaltz said. “I suspect there are other underlying issues you need to deal with.”
The judge handed Black nine months for the assault with a weapon, followed by another month in custody for breaching court orders.
He was given four months credit off his sentence for time already served, leaving a remaining five months that he must serve.
Black was also given a three-year probation order following his release from jail, at which point he must take any counselling he’s ordered to by his probation officer.
He is to have no contact with the complainant, must provide a sample of his DNA, is banned from having a firearm for five years and must pay $200 in victim of crime surcharges.