Court of Appeal in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)

Court of Appeal in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)

Appeal court adds 18 months to Surrey woman abuser’s prison term

The trial was heard in Surrey provincial court

A higher court has tacked an extra 18 months onto the prison term of a man who abused his “intimate partner” after the Crown appealed a Surrey provincial court judge’s sentence.

David Welesley Somers was convicted in Surrey on Oct. 6, 2020 of 10 crimes involving repeated acts of violence against his partner and the judge sentenced him to eight years and nine months but reduced the aggregate sentence to four years and six months, less time served.

The Crown appealed that sentence, arguing it was “demonstrably unfit” on grounds it failed to take into account the severity of Somer’s crimes, which involved assault with a weapon, uttering a death threat, unlawful confinement, slapping the woman’s face and choking her.

The court heard he held a knife to her wrist and threatened to cut off her hand.

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The court also heard that by the time Somers was tried on these offences he already had 50 criminal convictions and spend most of his adult life – he was 35 at the time of this trial – going in and out of prison for robbery, assault, assault with a weapon, assault causing bodily harm, and assaulting a peace officer.

“His parole had been revoked three times,” noted Justice Susan Griffin, of the Court of Appeal for British Columbia, in her May 25 reasons for decision delivered via videoconference. “His longest sentence was six years for the robbery and weapons offences.”

The Crown prosecutor argued for a sentence of 13.5 years, reduced to nine or 10 for time served, while the defence argue for a sentence of 36 months and five days, less credit for time served, plus three years of probation.

“When abuse occurs in the complainant’s own home and family environment, the complainant’s sense of personal security can be totally destroyed,” Griffin noted in her reasons.

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The Surrey judge in passing his aggregate sentence ordered that Somers serve two years concurrent to his other crimes on an attempt to obstruct justice conviction. Griffin changed this to an 18-month consecutive sentence.

“In my view, a fit aggregate sentence given the circumstances of the respondent and his offences would be six years’ imprisonment, before credit for time served,” Griffin decided.

Appeal Court Justices David Frankel and Christopher Grauer concurred.

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