N.W.T. prosecutor calls for 2-year sentence for violent, alcohol-fuelled home invasion

The prosecutor said the attack was "motivated by alcohol consumption" and Jacob Smith-Lafferty is "lucky the victim wasn't more seriously injured."

Prosecutor also calling for $1,700 in restitution fines for damaged door and TV

Jacob Smith-Lafferty pleaded guilty to break and enter with intent to commit a crime. The prosecutor is calling for him to be sentenced to two years in jail. (Walter Strong/CBC)

A prosecutor is calling for a Behchoko man to be sentenced to two years in jail for a violent, alcohol-fuelled home invasion.

In a plea deal reached with the prosecutor last February, Jacob Smith-Lafferty, 21, pleaded guilty to break and enter with intent to commit a crime.

Smith-Lafferty admitted that in February 2016 he and another man kicked in the door to a home in Behchoko.

It was 5 a.m. The person who lived in the house awoke and went to the door to see what was going on. Smith-Lafferty and his accomplice grabbed him and dragged him to another room where they kicked and punched him repeatedly.

Mr. Smith-Lafferty is lucky the victim wasn't more seriously injured.- Jay Potter, prosecutor

"It seemed motivated by alcohol consumption by Mr. Smith-Lafferty that night," said prosecutor Jay Potter during Smith-Lafferty's sentencing hearing in Yellowknife on Tuesday. "They were going to look for more booze. Mr. Smith-Lafferty is lucky the victim wasn't more seriously injured."

Potter also said Smith-Lafferty should have to pay restitution — $1,000 for the broken door and $700 for a TV that was damaged during the home invasion.

The prosecutor pointed out that Smith-Lafferty faces significant systemic barriers faced by many Indigenous people. Though he didn't attend residential school, both his parents did. Though he was not abused in his home, Smith-Lafferty did witness violence and alcohol abuse.

He started drinking at age 13. Potter said Smith-Lafferty's father was essentially absent during his childhood, though he has since given up alcohol and reconnected with him.

As part of the plea deal, charges of uttering threats and mischief Smith-Lafferty was facing were stayed, as were all charges against his co-accused.

Smith-Lafferty sexually assaulted a woman the day before he was arrested for the home invasion, a crime for which he received a one-year jail sentence. He was also convicted in October 2017 of uttering threats and mischief, as well as obstructing a peace officer.

'I just want to be with my kids'

At the sentencing, Smith-Lafferty's lawyer, Steven Fix, argued for a sentence of one year to 18 months.

Fix said his client knows the person whose home he broke into, but the two don't socialize.

At the end of his sentencing hearing, Smith-Lafferty apologized for the home invasion.

"I just want to be with my kids," he told Justice Andrew Mahar. "I just want to take care of my kids after this."

Mahar will give his decision on Aug. 7.