Former UBC student sentenced to four months jail time for assault

Former UBC student Tanick Gunnarsson has been sentenced to just under four months of jail time plus 12 months probation for assaulting his former partner in November 2017.

Gunnarsson previously pled guilty to attempted choking and assault causing bodily harm, as well as breaching the curfew put in place after his arrest. Since being charged, he had spent 45 days in custody, which was counted as 67 days by the court because they occurred prior to his sentencing.

Crown Counsel Jacinta Lawton sought 12 months of concurrent jail time for the assault and attempted choking charges, followed by 18 months of probation. The curfew breach, however, could be satisfied by the time he already served.

Gunnarsson’s defence counsel asked for 60 days jail time for the assault and 7 days for the curfew breach, arguing that this should be covered by his 67 days in custody.

There was also a substantive disagreement between the Crown and the defence counsel on whether Gunnarsson stopped his assault of his own volition or because of a risk he would be discovered.

On the other hand, his lack of a criminal record, immigration status and youth were accepted as mitigating factors for both sides. As a Thai national, Gunnarson will likely be deported. Defence counsel noted he has already signed an exclusion order, which would force him to leave the country once his sentence is concluded.

During his own testimony, Gunnarsson accepted responsibility for his actions and extended an apology to the victim and the court.

During his sentencing, the judge acknowledged the accused’s statement, which he said was “heartfelt” and demonstrated “deep remorse.” But he also noted the severity of the attack’s impact on the victim as well as an unreported incident in 2016 where Gunnarsson struck the victim, causing her to require two stitches above her left eye.

Ultimately, while rehabilitation was a relevant factor, the judge said he saw deterrence against a crime like domestic violence as the most important consideration.

During his jail and probation periods, Gunnarson is also forbidden from contacting the victim and going to her places of residence or study. The defence has not indicated that they intend to appeal.