Penticton man loses fingers, pleads guilty to assault
Severed fingers on a Penticton man's right hand will serve as a reminder not to bring a knife to a fistfight.
Michael Fellows, 21, showed the court his disfigured hand and pled guilty to aggravated assault with a weapon including the lesser assault. He was given an 18-month conditional sentence in a joint submission by Crown and defence.
"He has a limitation now with his right hand and a lifelong reminder of that night and the choices he made," said Crown counsel Susan Greba.
On Halloween night in 2010 Fellows had been partying with a group of friends. He approached a man unknown to him on Main Street asking for a cigarette but witnesses said that turned into what appeared to be a consensual fistfight. Fellows pulled out a knife slashing the man in the back of the head, shoulder, ear and inflicting a more serious wound to his inner left thigh.
Greba said she recently spoke to the victim and was told all of his injuries have healed except a lingering pain in his leg.
Emergency personnel located Fellows' dismembered pinky finger but he refused medical service to re-attach it. He also received a disfiguring laceration to another finger. Fellows has since tried to have corrective surgery to fix his hand, which caused a delay in the court proceedings, but it did not work.
Judge Meg Shaw said she had "a great deal of difficulty" with a proposal to have Fellows serve his sentence in the community, due to his lack of insight into his crime.
“The degree of violence in using a knife in a stabbing like that is concerning,” she said.
However, Shaw ruled that with proper supervision and conditions, Fellows’ release “would not endanger the safety of the community.”
Defence council James Pennington agreed the sentence is a break but his client has also faced many challenges in his young life and "sometimes breaks come few and far between."
Fellows will serve the first 12 months of his sentence under house arrest except for work or medical emergencies. The last six months will include a 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew. Other conditions include no contact with six people, including the victim and witnesses, plus abstention from drugs and alcohol.
Most of the same conditions will apply during a subsequent three-year probationary period, which will feature a midnight to 6 a.m. curfew.