Meth-fuelled spousal assault in Okanagan Falls nets jail time

Alan Charles Somerville, 36, pleaded guilty to uttering threats, assault with a weapon and unlawful confinement and imprisonment.

Meth-fuelled spousal assault in Okanagan Falls nets jail time

A man who assaulted his wife in a meth-fuelled rage in front of their child in Okanagan Falls broke down in tears during court proceedings Wednesday.

Alan Charles Somerville, 36, pleaded guilty to uttering threats, assault with a weapon and unlawful confinement and imprisonment in Penticton Provincial Court Wednesday.

On June 8, Somerville was arguing with his spouse, who had recently moved from Saskatchewan to work at the Penticton Regional Hospital, and while high on crystal methamphetamine he struck her with both open and closed fists, threatened her life with a hammer in hand and held her down briefly during the assault.

His wife ran out of the house and Somerville placed their son outside the residence with no clothes on, in hopes of bringing her back towards the residence.

Somerville, who appeared at his sentencing via video from the Kamloops Regional Correctional Centre, was visibly emotional hearing the circumstances recounted in court, holding his head in his hands, sighing heavily and at one point breaking out in tears.

As the couple made their way outside during the assault, a landscaping contractor on a neighbouring property saw the disturbance and saw Somerville hit the woman in the face. The man started heading over from the adjoining property when Somerville left in his truck. He sent text messages to his spouse where he indicated he was suicidal and was going “to lead the police on the chase and go out in style, something to that effect,” Crown counsel Ann Lerchs said while reading the circumstances that led to the charges.

Somerville’s spouse had only worked one day at the Penticton Regional Hospital before leaving town with her son, a two-year-old boy who was present for the assault.

“(Their son) was present during the altercation, he witnessed his father assault his mother, he witnessed his father threaten his mother with a hammer, he witnessed his father threaten to kill his mother and dump her body,” Lerchs said. “Not only was he a witness to this, he was used to bring his mother back into the home.”

A warrant was issued for his arrest and Somerville was arrested on June 9.

Somerville has a prior criminal record with multiple assaults. He has one conviction for assault with a weapon from 2001, two convictions for assault causing bodily harm in 2003 and one assault conviction in 2011.

Defence counsel for Somerville, James Pennington, said the victim “gave as good as she got,” as this wasn’t the first drug-fuelled argument between the two, stating that their son was “no stranger” to arguments like this one.

However, Judge Gail Sinclair denied Pennington’s submission for a conditional sentence order, noting it was “no way to treat a lady, no matter what she may or may not have done.”

“The gratuitous violence that apparently happened here must be the result of my favourite drug, crystal methamphetamine, so many people get in so many problems over that stuff because they don’t think properly,” Sinclair said.

Somerville was sentenced to nine months in jail, two of which he has already served with pre-trial custody credit, and he will be the subject of no-contact orders, aside from family court proceedings, with his son and wife. Somerville was also given two years of probation and a weapons prohibition during that time.