Quebec acid burn victim testifies against ex-boyfriend

Tanya St-Arnauld, 29, allegedly attacked with acid by her ex-boyfriend last August, testified at the preliminary hearing of Nikolas Stefanatos Monday at the Longueuil courthouse on Montreal's South Shore.
Tanya St-Arnauld speaks to reporters after giving testimony at the preliminary hearing of Nikolas Stefanatos, charged in connection with her alleged assault. 1:11

A woman who was allegedly attacked with acid by her boyfriend last August took the stand today at the Longueuil courthouse on Montreal's South Shore.

Tanya St-Arnauld, 29, detailed her attack during a preliminary hearing for her former boyfriend, Nikolas Stefanatos. Evidence given before that hearing is subject to a publication ban.

Tanya St-Arnaud before the acid attack that left her face and upper body scarred. (Facebook)

Stefanatos is charged with several offences including aggravated assault in connection with an incident that took place early in the morning of Aug. 26 in St-Arnauld's apartment in Longueuil.

St-Arnauld suffered acid burns to much of her body, including third degree burns to her chest and arms. 

She was put into a medically induced coma, and over the course of several months, underwent skin grafts.

'This is how I am,' St-Arnauld says

St-Arnauld appeared in court without makeup or a wig, bald patches evident in her short-cropped hair, her arms and face bearing scars.

Tanya St-Arnauld arrives at the Longueuil courthouse on Feb. 18, 2013 to testify at the preliminary hearing of Nikolas Stefanatos. (CBC)

After her testimony, St-Arnauld spoke to reporters about that decision, saying it was important for the accused, the court and the public to see her as she really is.

"When I'm at home, I don't have the make-up team behind me and the hairstylists and everybody," St-Arnauld said.  "I do my best. But when I go out everyday, this is how I am."


"When I have interviews...I try to make myself not scare the population, if you will.  But no, I wanted to show everybody this is how I am every day, and it's the time not to hide it. I'm here to tell the truth."

St-Arnauld is preparing to go to Miami, where Dr. Jill Waibel, a dermatologist specializing in scar reduction has offered to treat her for free.

"I'm very blessed, very, very lucky to be working with her," said St-Arnauld, adding the laser treatment Waibel offers is not yet available in Canada.  "So — only good news from now on.  This is the beginning, not the end."

Stefanatos's preliminary hearing is set to resume on Tuesday, and a decision should be made by the end of the day as to whether his case will proceed to trial.