Summerland man facing 1-3 years for fight with neighbour

Joshua James Doell, facing one count of aggravated assault, is awaiting a judge’s decision

A Summerland man charged with aggravated assault will face 12 months to three years incarceration over a fight with his neighbour at the time involving a pruning knife.

Joshua James Doell has been on bail for over two years, since he was released on bail in December 2015, and was originally facing a charge of assault causing bodily harm along with the aggravated assault count.

Doell, 43, is looking at a pair of widely disparate sentences — Crown lawyer Kurt Froehlich is seeking two to three years for the assault, while defence lawyer Norm Yates suggested a period of 12 to 16 months in jail. Similarly, for a breach of probation, Crown suggested one to seven days, while the defence suggested just one day.

Related: Bail for man charged with assault

On April 13, Summerland RCMP received a call that a man had been assaulted by his neighbour, and upon arrival, police found Doell’s intoxicated neighbour with a one-inch cut on his forehead, dried blood on his nose, mouth and face and complaining of sore ribs.

The court heard Monday morning Doell and his neighbour were playing board games and drinking when the two got into a fight over a piece of furniture belonging to Doell’s neighbour.

During a December 2015 bail hearing, Froehlich said Doell had a “strong odour of liquor on his breath” upon police arrival, and “when he was read his charter rights, Mr. Doell plugged his ears and began singing.”

A broken rib, a fractured rib and fractured wrist were listed among the injuries sustained by the neighbour in the struggle, in which the two reportedly had struggled to graba hammer on the floor of the unit.

Related: Man arrested in connection with Summerland stabbing

“(The man) told police he had run into traffic, jumping in front of cars because he believed Mr. Doell was trying to kill him,” Froehlich told the court in December 2015.

A pruning knife was also involved in the altercation, the court heard.

“My understanding of the evidence in your decision was that Mr. Doell didn’t aggressively push the blade of the knife into his friend’s back,” Yates said. “The use of the knife was in the midst of an aggressive struggle and that when the knife was yielded and the complainant got cut.”

Yates claimed the knife was used to gain the upper hand in the fight and put an end to it, not to actually be used against his neighbour.

Related: Man charged with Summerland stabbing pleads not guilty

Froehlich suggested a number of aggravating factors in sentencing, particularly the effect he said the neighbour has sustained, both psychologically and physically, which he has still yet to recover from.

Doell was on bail at the time of the fight and has a past conviction, albeit after the April 2015 incident before the court Monday morning, for an assault.

Doell had admitted to drinking alcohol since being released on bail, something he was ordered against as a condition of release, and Froehlich also said a pre-sentence report suggested little effort on Doell’s part in an addictions program he completed.

“The other side of that is he passed. He attended and he successfully completed the program,” Yates responded.

But Yates said during his two-plus years of “strict” bail conditions he had not had any charges for breaches of bail conditions, although he was also facing sentencing for a breach for a probation order on an unrelated matter.

“You don’t need to sentence Mr. Doell to a sentence designed to protect the community from his volatile temper. What occurred was an incident, a nasty incident, between two friends,” Yates said.

“The incident took place between two friends that were much drunker than they ought to have been. And as I understood the evidence and your decision, the fight between them was not one that Mr. Doell instigated. In fact, he responded to provocation by his friend.”

Because Shaw was hearing a large number of matters on Monday, and the amount of case law for her to consider in sentencing, the matter has been deferred to the judicial case manager to determine a date for Shaw to announce her decision.


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