Yukon Supreme Court handed down a suspended sentence to a man found guilty of breaking and entering into his former partner’s home in Pelly Crossing, scaring her and her children in June 2014.
Adam Vanbibber was charged with assault causing bodily harm, mischief, and breaking and entering. He was only convicted of the breaking and entering charge.
The victim, Gina Gill, her daughters and their family were in the courtroom.
Justice Beverly Browne talked about the difficulty of this particular sentencing because of the two very different accounts of Vanbibber she heard at trial.
On one hand, the court heard of a man who, intoxicated, barged into the home of his former partner, with whom he had a “long and complex” history, scaring her and her two young daughters.
On the other, letters of support filed for the sentencing hearing spoke of a man liked in the community, the father of a 12-year-old son, who had to deal with multiple deaths in his family in 2014, and who has followed his bail conditions and stayed sober since he was charged.
Breaking and entering carries a minimum of a suspended sentence and a maximum of 10 years in prison.
Browne opted for the suspended sentence.
Vanbibber will be on probation for two years and will have to remain sober and complete 125 hours of community service.
While he won’t serve any time in jail, the conviction will be registered on his criminal record.
Before the decision, Gill and her daughters told the court of the toll Vanbibber’s crime had on them.
Vanbibber’s lawyer, David Tarnow, objected to the content of some of the statements, telling the court they contained “allegations of misconduct” against his client and were not proper evidence.
Eventually he and the Crown prosecutor redacted portions of them. The prosecutor told the judge it was up to her to decide what to take into account from the statements.
Gill told the court she had to take four months off work because of the break and enter.
“It hurt me to see my family suffer,” she said.
One of Gill’s daughters said she cried a lot after the incident.
“How could a man hit another woman?” she said. “Especially my mother. She didn’t deserve a broken nose.”
Gill’s daughter said she now faints at the sight of blood. For a year after the break and enter she wouldn’t stay home alone, she said. Any time she heard a vehicle pull into the driveway she would jump to the window to make sure it wasn’t Vanbibber’s.
Vanbibber apologized to Gill and her daughter in court.
But Browne warned him that stating he was sorry wasn’t enough: he had to leave them alone. She also asked him to write letters of apology to the two girls.
As Browne handed down the sentence Gill burst into tears and left the courtroom, followed by some of her relatives.
Vanbibber is banned from contacting Gill and her daughters.
The judge reminded him of what the Gill girls said in their statements.
“You frightened them and it’s unacceptable,” Browne said.
She reminded him he also needed to be a role model for his son.
And Browne warned Vanbibber he wouldn’t get a second shot at a suspended sentence.
“If you end up back in court, (know that) you’ve used all your credits,” she said.
Contact Pierre Chauvin at firstname.lastname@example.org