Court hears of love triangle turned violent in Penticton

Love triangle that turned violent resulting in a stabbing did not turn into a jail sentence for a Penticton man.

A love triangle that turned violent resulting in  a stabbing did not turn into a jail sentence for the Penticton man who admitted to wielding the knife.

On Monday, Graham Trevor Jebbett, 68, pleaded guilty to a single count of aggravated assault in connection with the incident at his apartment on March 19, 2012, and was handed a suspended sentence and three years’ probation. If he abides by the terms of his probation, which include a 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew for the first six months, Jebbett will not face further punishment.

Judge Meg Shaw said the case represented  “unusual and somewhat rare instances” in which a suspended sentence is warranted due to the circumstances of the offence and Jebbett’s support in the community.

Stabbing victim Tom Halmai was the ex-husband of Jebbett’s ex-girlfriend, who had recently left Jebbett and reconciled with Halmai, the court heard.

On the day of the stabbing, Halmai and the woman showed up at Jebbett’s apartment around 12:30 a.m., ostensibly to return some shooting targets.

“The hour of the visit was unusual as it was after midnight and the offender was in his house robe,” Shaw noted in her reasons for sentence.

And although he was “anxious and fearful,” Shaw said, Jebbett invited the visitors up to his apartment, where he poured them some wine.  Then, as Halmai was about to step out on the balcony for a smoke, Jebbett stabbed him once in his upper abdomen with a 10-centimetre blade. Halmai then struck Jebbett several times, and laid down on a couch and was “mostly unresponsive” by the time help arrived, Shaw said, adding Halmai spent the next two months recovering his health.

Defence counsel John Stowell said his client, who is “pretty much paralyzed” on his left side due to two prior brain injuries, had previously taken a “beating” from the larger Halmai, who Jebbett feared was there “to do him harm.” Stowell said Jebbett was unable to recall exactly what led up to the stabbing, but admitted to police he was under “the impression, at least, he was about to be attacked” by Halmai.

“I don’t think I’ve met a more remorseful person,” Stowell told Shaw, after going over multiple letters of support from counsellors and community service providers whose help Jebbett sought out after the incident.