The man behind a “barbaric” machete attack at Ben Lee Park was released from custody Monday and told he can only return to Kelowna under very strict conditions.
Derrick Antoine, 29, was sentenced to 10-months in prison, as per the joint recommendation of Crown counsel and his defence attorney for charges relating to a series of increasingly violent outbursts in 2016. He was credited with time-and-a-half for 217 days spent in custody, which left him at zero time left to serve.
Antoine will be on probation for the next two years and has to submit to a DNA order. Notably, he is not permitted within the boundaries of Kelowna unless it’s to pick up or drop off his child for visitation elsewhere. In some circumstances a supervised visit within city boundaries may be accepted.
The sentence was “on the edge of what’s acceptable to the court,” said Judge Mayland McKimm, noting he would have preferred a sentence of 12 to 18 months given the severity of the attacks levied by Antoine.
Tilting the scales toward acceptability, explained McKimm, was the Crown and defence finding a sentence that reflects a “meaningful application of the Gladue principle.”
Gladue is a sentencing principle that recognizes that Aboriginal Canadians face racism and systemic discrimination in the criminal law system, and has the judge focus on systemic or background factors that may have played a part in bringing the offender before the courts.
In Antoine’s case, he is the grandchild of a residential school survivor. The effect that had on his mother, led to a tumultuous upbringing, marred by violence.
Acknowledging his history doesn’t mean he gets a “discount on his sentence,” said McKimm.
It means that Antoine didn’t have the “same toolkit to deal with circumstances, (such as) being asked to exact revenge for a perceived slight” against an ex girlfriend.
That, in addition to narcotic use, the court was told is what led Antoine to a series of increasingly violent attacks against unarmed people in Kelowna last summer.
Antoine had a violent relationship with the mother of his child. During a June 2016 incident their relationship hit a boiling point and Antoine hit the woman with a phone wire. He was located and taken into custody shortly thereafter, only to be released in July.
He wasn’t supposed to be in contact with the woman, but at some point they reconnected and she asked him to exact revenge on a man she claimed had treated her in an insulting manner.
That man and his friends had been hanging out around Ben Lee Park on Aug. 8, 2016, when two others approached the group with a machete saying, “you f***ed with the wrong girl,” and “you’re messing with the wrong people.”
Antoine, wielding a machete, put a gash in the man’s face that extended from under his eye, on his cheekbone, right to his earlobe. Police who arrived on scene said they could see the bone beneath the cut. The man’s leg was also permanently injured in the attack.
Antoine escaped somehow, but was put back in the crosshairs of police when he got into another fight with the mother of his child on Aug. 16, 2016 and stabbed her in the back.
All three attacks, which escalated in severity, were “barbaric, vicious and inexcusable,” said McKimm.
Antoine, who pleaded guilty to the bulk of charges relating to these attacks long before they went to trial, said he’s used the seven months he spent in custody trying to better himself.
While in custody, he successfully completed courses dealing with addiction and relationship skills, and showed the courts certificates to prove it.
He intends to keep on that path so he can build on his relationship with his child, which is something he knows will “take a lot of work.”
When asked how he would do that considering his history with the child’s mother, Antoine said it would be difficult.
“Realistically, we will have to be parents together,” he said, adding that a relationship other than that is off the table.
Also working in Antoine’s favour at sentencing is that he is a first time offender, who’s relatively young and proven previously to be a capable member of society. He also already has lined up a job in the field of silviculture, with the help of his family.