Judge pondering submissions before sentence on assault

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PICTOU – A recent Facebook post could weigh into a provincial court judge’s decision on sentencing for a Pictou County man charged with assault causing bodily harm.

Christian Douglas Avery, 20, pleaded guilty to assault causing bodily harm against 21-year-old Joshua Watt of James River, Antigonish County.

Avery had pleaded not guilty, but changed his plea to guilty in March while two other charges were withdrawn.

The victim said he was angry after he read a post in May on Avery’s social media site about the case that stated “all for beating someone up. The majority of who say he deserved it.”

 “I didn’t deserve that. I never saw him before he got out of Burnside,” said Watt while testifying during the sentencing hearing Tuesday in Pictou Provincial Court.

Crown attorney Patrick Young said the comment on social media is indicative of the lack of remorse Avery shows toward the victim.

Young detailed the injuries that Watt suffered as a result of the assault, which included bruising to his face and body as well as torn ACL and a broken bone in his leg. 

Since the attack, Watt said he needed surgery to repair the injury to his leg, has trouble sleeping, is unable to work and has suffered financial hardship because of the loss of income and extra medical costs.

Young described the incident as a “savage beating with long-lasting injuries” and asked the court to consider a jail sentence of up to two years. He also said Avery should pay $290 in restitution to Watt for his medical expenses.

Defence lawyer Stephen Robertson said the Facebook post was nothing more than Avery’s frustration over the amount of time the case has taken to make its way through court.

He said his client is remorseful for his actions and knows that one impulsive night has changed his life forever.   

Robertson said his client has since taken steps to change his behaviour by attending anger management counselling and continuing his education. He has also followed all conditions of his court undertaking during the time he has been awaiting sentencing.

“I do regret it and it has totally flipped my whole life,” Avery said Tuesday in court. “I only get to see my son now on supervised visits and I really want to do good by him.”

Robertson asked Judge Del Atwood to consider a 90-day sentence on the assault charge so Avery could continue with the positive changes he was making in his life.

Atwood said since both recommendations on sentencing were so far apart, he would need time before giving his decision.  Sentencing was adjourned until June 9.

Geographic location: James River, Antigonish County

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