The attack was “as senseless and vicious as it was shocking,” a Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court Judge said Monday, sentencing Jason King to six years behind bars for an incident in which he slashed at his ex-girlfriend’s face with a box cutter in an attempt to disfigure her.
“This is a crime that deeply shocks and offends the community,” Justice Donald Burrage told the court. “The public abhorrence of such behaviour is understandably very high.”
Both King and his ex-girlfriend were in the courtroom for the sentencing. King entered with a piece of paper which he presented to his lawyer, indicating he had calculated his own credit for the time he had served in custody.
His ex-girlfriend sat with supporters in the seats behind him, growing visibly nervous as he came into the room escorted by sheriff’s officers.
King, 48 and a native of Lewisporte, had pleaded guilty to a charge of aggravated assault in connection with the attack on the woman, which left her with permanent scarring and mobility issues in her hand. He also admitted guilt to breaching a court order to stay away from the woman.
According to an agreed statement of facts, the pair had decided to continue their relationship despite an order banning King from contacting the woman after he was convicted of assaulting her and damaging her property a year earlier. They were together at King’s house the evening of March 28, 2016, when they began to argue. When the woman wanted to leave, King took the woman’s phone, which smashed when it was dropped on the floor. King told the woman he would pay for the phone if she didn’t call the police.
Later that night, the woman called King and asked him again if he would replace her phone. He said he would and she agreed not to call police. A while later, King called her back to say he wouldn’t pay for the phone after all and never wanted to hear from her again.
The next morning, King was working at Dollarama when the woman entered the store and asked him again to pay for her phone. When he refused, she turned to walk away, but he threw her to the floor and began slashing at her face with a box cutter. The attack continued until customers intervened.
The woman was taken to hospital with numerous lacerations to her face, finger and wrist.
King told police he had “snapped” and had slashed at his ex-girlfriend’s face in an attempt to disfigure her, since he felt she put a lot of value in her appearance.
“Let me be clear,” Burrage stressed Monday. “The foregoing account may provide some context to the events of March 29, 2016, but in no shape or form does it provide a justification for Mr. King’s behaviour. (The victim) is not on trial here and I would reject any suggestion that she bears any responsibility for what transpired.”
King has a history of domestic violence, with seven prior convictions on charges of assault causing bodily harm, assault, mischief relating to property and uttering threats to different women. He had previously indicated to the court he wanted a federal prison term so he could avail of anger management counselling.
Burrage said he was emphasizing both denunciation and general deterrence with his sentence.
“Such behaviour is shocking to the community and the sentence must serve to deter not only Mr. King, but others who might be like-minded,” the judge said. “At the same time, Mr. King’s prospects for rehabilitation must not be ignored.”
Burrage sentenced King to six years in prison for the attack on the woman and two months for breaching the court order, to be served concurrently. He also ordered him to provide a DNA sample and banned him from owning a weapon for life.
Burrage gave King credit for the time he has spent in custody at a rate of time-and-a-half, meaning he has just over three years left to serve.