Former MP Marwan Tabbara gets 3 years' probation after pleading guilty to assault
Tabbara, who had represented Kitchener South-Hespeler, also pleaded guilty to being unlawfully in a dwelling
Former Kitchener South-Hespeler MP Marwan Tabbara has received a conditional discharge and was placed on three years' probation after pleading guilty to two counts of assault and one of being unlawfully in a dwelling house.
Tabbara was charged following an altercation with a woman and another man in the spring of 2020 in Guelph, Ont.
He was initially charged with break and enter, but it was amended Thursday afternoon, during a virtual court hearing, to being unlawfully in a dwelling house.
The Crown and defence lawyer issued a joint submission for Tabbara to receive a conditional discharge and three years' probation. Justice Michael Wendl agreed to it.
As part of his sentence, Tabbara must complete 40 hours of community service each year for three years and cannot have any contact with the man he assaulted. As well, he:
- Must keep at least 250 metres away from the woman unless she gives a written statement that he can be closer.
- Faces a weapons ban for five years.
- Must submit a sample to the RCMP's DNA Data Bank.
Tabbara told the court he has "always worked hard all my life and wanted to serve my community because it gave me so much."
"My actions in 2020 were denunciable and completely out of character," he said, but he did not apologize to the two victims.
Tabbara was a Liberal when he was arrested and charged in April 2020, but it wasn't reported in the media until June, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said they learned of the charges just days before it was reported.
Police in Guelph initially said information about Tabbara's arrest was not made public because the officers involved were not aware he was a sitting member of Parliament, but that was later revealed not to be true.
Tabbara stepped down from the Liberal caucus and sat as an Independent MP for the remainder of his term. He did not seek re-election in Monday's federal election.
Fight in Guelph house
Crown attorney Ian Bulmer explained in court that on April 9, 2020, Tabbara went to a home in Guelph to speak to a woman inside. He knocked on the door, but the man and woman inside did not answer. Instead, they went into another room.
Just after 11 p.m. ET that night, Tabbara entered the house and found the man and woman in the other room. Tabbara argued with the man and Tabbara punched him several times. The woman tried to intervene and Tabbara "took hold" of the woman and took her outside the house, Bulmer said.
The man and woman both called 911. Police arrived at 11:15 p.m. and found Tabbara sitting in the home. He was arrested at the scene.
The woman was not injured. The man suffered a sore wrist, a bruise to his head and a headache, Bulmer said.
'Very poor choices'
Tabbara's lawyer, Scott Hutchison, said that after that night, his client sought help, going into counselling for anger management within weeks.
He noted Tabbara had no criminal record and no other interactions with criminal justice.
Hutchison said Tabbara was under stress because of family, work and the pandemic.
"In the circumstances he made some very poor choices that evening," Hutchison said.