PEI

P.E.I. man sentenced for assault that blinded fiancée in one eye

Thomas Peter Argon was sentenced to 15 months in jail for an assault that left his fiancée blind in one eye.

Court hears pair was bingeing on drugs and alcohol after finishing month of detox

Thomas Argon was sentenced to 15 months in jail for an assault that left his fiancée blind in one eye. (CBC)

Thomas Peter Argon, 37, was sentenced to 15 months in jail Tuesday for an assault that left his fiancée blind in one eye.

Court heard the couple was bingeing on drugs and alcohol on Dec. 23 in a Charlottetown hotel room.

Police found the 37-year-old woman battered, bloody and unconscious on the floor of the room.

Argon pleaded not guilty but after a trial the judge found him guilty of aggravated assault, mischief to property and violating a peace bond. He also pleaded guilty to having contact with the woman while he was in jail.

In passing sentence, provincial court judge John Douglas said it's not clear what happened in that hotel room that night but he's convinced Argon and his fiancée were the only two people in the room.

"Who started the fight? We don't know," said Douglas. "She certainly got beaten badly,"

Just out of rehab

Referring to this as a "serious aggravated assault", the judge said although the assault was not premeditated, "the drinking and drug binge was." 

Douglas said it was Argon who booked the room, bought vodka, beer and Valium so the pair could get high.

They had just completed a month of detox before the incident.

During his trial Argon testified a drug dealer came into the room that night and committed the assault on the woman.

The woman initially testified that she blacked out and couldn't remember what happened, but later changed her story to agree with Argon's version of events.

Argon also had head injuries that required stitches. The hotel room had damages estimated at more than $10,000 and court heard the cleaners had to treat it as a hazardous site because of all the blood among the damage.

No prior assault convictions

According to a pre-sentence report prepared for the court, Argon has struggled with drug addiction for years and was diagnosed with PTSD.

Court heard Argon's doctor found him to be making progress in treating his addiction. 

He has no prior convictions for assault.

The judge also noted that the woman had stabbed Argon during an argument in 2014, and was sentenced to eight months in jail.

Crown attorney Lisa Goulden suggested Argon get at least three years in prison.

Goulden told the court he had abused alcohol and drugs while on the methadone program in the past.

The defence, however, recommended a year in jail, calling the assault out of character for Argon.

"Something went wrong. We don't know what went wrong. The evidence doesn't say that at all," said Brendan Hubley.

Argon apologizes

Before he was sentenced, Argon reading from hand-written notes, stood and apologized to the woman and described what happened as "a result of my mind being detached from reality."

"These eight months in custody have given me the longest period of sobriety since I was 12 years old," he told the court.

He said he would use his time in custody to try to better himself.

"I promise everybody here today that Thomas Argon will come back changed for the better after incarceration."

'This can't go on'

"The drug use, Mr. Argon, has to end and it has to end now. This can't go on. You are young, you are bright … Now it has caused you to inflict very serious injuries on another person," said Douglas.

The judge called this a "unique" case that does not warrant a federal sentence.

Argon has been in custody since his arrest in December. With credit for that time behind bars, the judge said Argon will have to serve another four months. Argon was also ordered to pay restitution for the damages to the hotel room.

With files from Brian Higgins

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