Olds resident jailed for punching man in face

Tuesday, Feb 21, 2012 06:00 am | DAN SINGLETON

A 42-year-old man who punched another man in the face during a confrontation in an Olds hotel room in October has been jailed.

The accused was tried in Didsbury provincial court before Judge Les Grieve on Thursday on a charge of assault.

Testifying for the Crown, the complainant said he was visiting an acquaintance at the Blue Yak Hotel on the evening of Oct. 15, 2011.

Moments before the assault, the accused’s wife came to the room and he gave her a hug as a greeting, he said.

“I turned around and got struck,” he said. “He struck me. I was knocked into my bicycle (which was leaning against a nearby wall).”

Asked by Crown prosecutor Britta Kristensen if he believed the woman consented to being hugged, he said, “I think so.”

During cross-examination by defence lawyer John Boulton, the complainant said he had known the accused’s wife as an acquaintance for some time before the assault.

“I considered her to be a friend,” he said.

He said both his lips were cut open by the single punch to his face.

“I could just about stick my tongue through my lip,” he said.

He said the injuries took more than three months to heal, and that he has been suffering from dizzy spells since the attack.

The accused’s wife testified she went to the hotel room to confront the complainant and the man who had rented the room, both of whom were acquaintances of hers, about unwanted phone calls they had been making to her residence.

She said moments after she entered the room, the accused pushed past her and struck the victim.

“He approached him and punched him,” she said.

She said she did not know the accused had followed her to the room and was surprised when he pushed past her.

Testifying in his own defence, the accused said he believed the complainant was assaulting his wife when he hugged her, and that he acted to protect her.

“I walked in the door and I punched him,” he said. “I didn’t want him near my wife. With my right hand I punched him. I told him to stay away from my family.”

In his closing statement, defence lawyer Boulton argued that the accused was acting to protect his wife when he struck the complainant.

Crown prosecutor Kristensen said the hug was a “consensual embrace, if a reluctant one.”

Judge Grieve agreed with the Crown, saying there was no evidence that the complainant’s hugging the accused’s wife constituted an assault.

He found Travis Gluebrecht guilty of assault and sentenced him to five months in jail.

“There is a price to pay for this outrageous behaviour,” the judge told Gluebrecht.

In passing sentence, the judge cited Gluebrecht’s lengthy criminal record, which includes three previous convictions for assault.


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