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Westlock man awaits sentencing

Accused pleaded guilty to assault in domestic violence incident
Barrhead Provincial Court (VM)

BARRHEAD - A Westlock man involved in a domestic violence incident that saw his victim have to go to the hospital for medical treatment will have to wait until August to find out what his punishment will be.

On April 23 at Barrhead Court of Justice, Darren Edwin Custead pleaded guilty to assault causing bodily harm.

The Crown stated that they plan to apply to have the remaining charge of assault by choking, suffocating or strangling withdrawn following sentencing.

Crown prosecutor Matthew Kerr also requested that the presiding justice, Carrie-Ann Downey, be "seized" or reserved for sentencing.

At the request of defence lawyer Gary Smith, Downey ordered a pre-sentence report.

A pre-sentence report is a document created by a probation officer by order of the court after interviewing the accused and other collateral sources. It helps guide the presiding justice in determining an appropriate sentence.

The facts

According to Kerr, on Feb. 27, 2024, Barrhead RCMP was notified that a domestic violence incident was taking place at a County of Barrhead residence by a relative of the victim.

When they arrived, he said, they found Custead wearing a bathrobe and sitting at the kitchen table, intoxicated.

"He had no visible injuries," Kerr said.

Police also found a woman in the next room, lying on the couch, suffering from physical injuries.

"[She] had significant bruising around her left eye, and face, down to her neck, along with a laceration on her chin," he said, adding the victim was taken to the hospital for treatment.

Kerr added that in her statement to the police, she said that the accused had become physically violent about one hour before her relative had called them.

"[The victim] reported that Custead had asked her to move some stuff in the bedroom while she was attempting to sleep on the couch," the Crown said. "When [she] attempted to do [that], Custead attacked her."

Kerr added the assault included being pushed, smacked in the face and grabbed by the neck.

"[The victim] does not recall losing consciousness," he said, adding the laceration on her chin was caused when she fell and hit the kitchen sink after Custead had shoved her.

Smith also asked for the no-contact order with the victim as part of Custead's release order to be revised to allow him to return to her residence, under the supervision of the RCMP, on a one-time-only visit to collect the rest of his belongings.

Downey granted the change.

Barry Kerton,

Barry Kerton

About the Author: Barry Kerton

Barry Kerton is the managing editor of the Barrhead Leader, joining the paper in 2014. He covers news, municipal politics and sports.
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