A Nisga’a man has been sentenced to months house arrest after pleading guilty to assaulting his male partner in Prince Rupert last spring.
Court documents published on Aug. 13 show that 27-year-old Michael Tristan Angus of the Gingolx and Ganada, or Raven Tribe, was arrested by Prince Rupert RCMP on May 5, 2019 after stabbing his Indigenous partner, Ryan Wesley, at a home in the 1400 block of Kootenay Avenue.
Wesley later told Crown lawyers that both he and Angus were drunk at the time of the stabbing.
B.C. Judge D. Patterson, who sentenced Angus last month, cited Angus’s First Nations status and traumatic childhood in his decision not to send him to prison. Patterson called out the pernicious impacts of Canada’s “legacy of residential schools” on Angus’s family life, noting that he battled “suicidal tendencies” throughout a childhood Patterson said was “full of violence [and] alcoholism.”
Patterson observed that Angus’s grandfather had been forced to attend a residential school, where he suffered routine beatings and psychological torture by school administrators. Describing testimony by Angus’s mother, Patterson highlighted that when he misbehaved at school, “her father would be locked [in] a room under a staircase as a child where he was tormented by rodents.”
Patterson said he also based his decision on the fact that Angus has no prior criminal record, and that Wesley told Crown prosecutors he didn’t want Angus to serve time in prison. Saying he is “a man who has the whole world in front of him once he puts this matter behind him,” Patterson added that Angus, “can be whatever he wants to be.”
Angus has been ordered to undergo counselling as part of his conditional sentence and is barred from carrying a weapon or entering places where alcohol is sold, including liquor stores, while on house arrest.
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