N.S. man gets conditional sentence for violent assault on girlfriend

·2 min read

A Halifax-area man has received an eight-month conditional sentence for a violent incident four years ago involving his then-girlfriend.

Christopher Bruce Duffett, 32, was convicted of assault, dangerous driving and driving while impaired by drugs following an incident on April 28, 2016, on the Beaver Bank Road outside of Halifax.

Witnesses at his trial in Nova Scotia Supreme Court described seeing a woman, her legs dangling out the open passenger door of a car, screaming for help as the driver backed up and tried to pull her into the vehicle. Passersby managed to rescue the woman and called police.

Duffett was originally charged with two counts of assault, assault with a weapon and administering a noxious substance and motor vehicle offences.

At his trial, he pleaded guilty to the charge of impaired driving, while Justice Ann Smith also found him guilty on two additional charges. Police evidence at his trial showed there were traces of cocaine and a benzodiazepine in Duffett's system at the time of the incident.

Ex-girlfriend feels 'terrified,' court hears

His former girlfriend gave a victim impact statement during a sentencing hearing Wednesday, in which she described becoming addicted to alcohol, being depressed, stressed and having nightmares and flashbacks.

"I am terrified of people leaving the house, feelings of suicide and attempts, angry and irrational at times and unable to sleep, thinking you would come back, it would happen again," she said.

She told the judge she still suffers from neck and back pain and gave up her job because of her fears. That forced her to declare bankruptcy and she lost her apartment.

As part of his sentence, Duffett must live with his mother and observe an overnight curfew between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. Once he's completed his sentence, he will be on probation for a year. He's also prohibited from driving for a year.