Sentencing delayed in beach assault case that left Penticton man with traumatic brain injury

·4 min read
The trauma resulting from a traumatic brain injury Bradley Eliason sustained in an attack on a Penticton beach in 2019 has caused him to lose his job, his house and his marriage, according to estranged wife Chelsea Townend.
The trauma resulting from a traumatic brain injury Bradley Eliason sustained in an attack on a Penticton beach in 2019 has caused him to lose his job, his house and his marriage, according to estranged wife Chelsea Townend.

(Chelsea Townend - image credit)

It was a vicous punch that changed Bradley Eliason's life forever.

Eliason, 30, was at one of the City of Penticton's beach bonfire pits on Okanagan Lake beach in 2019 when he stepped in to investigate a commotion that had erupted nearby among several people.

Within seconds, a swift uppercut from Thomas Allen-Kruger sent Eliason's head crashing down onto a hard concrete walkway adjacent to the beach.

Kruger-Allen, 23, has pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated assault and two counts of assault related to that night.

He was expected to be sentenced in B.C. Supreme Court on Wednesday at the conclusion of a sentencing hearing. However, the matter has been adjourned until next week as his defence prepares a charter challenge around allegations the RCMP arrested him unlawfully.

This week, the court heard about the life-changing effects Kruger-Allen's punch has had on Eliason — everything from ongoing seizures and memory issues as a result of the traumatic brain injury he suffered, to the break up of his marriage.

"I have lost everything," Eliason said while reading from a victim impact statement. "My wife left me. I lost our house. I lost our pets and I cannot work."

Unprovoked attack

Crown prosecutor Nashina Devji told the court Kruger-Allen's attack was unprovoked, and Eliason likely didn't see it coming.

Devji said Kruger-Allen and a friend had come across a group of young people on the beach on the evening of May 3, 2019.

She told the court Kruger-Allen grabbed one woman's buttocks and when she pushed him away, he punched her. When a second woman came to her friend's aid, Kruger-Allen punched her in the face.

Devji said Eliason approached on the nearby walkway and asked, "what's going on here?" And that's when Kruger-Allen hit Eliason with an uppercut.

The punch dropped him backwards onto the cement where he hit his head.

Eliason has been unable to work because of memory issues and seizures after he was attacked on the beach in 2019 by Kruger-Allen
Eliason has been unable to work because of memory issues and seizures after he was attacked on the beach in 2019 by Kruger-Allen

In hospital, Eliason underwent brain surgery where doctors removed a portion of his skull to relieve the pressure on his brain.

Doctors put Eliason into an induced coma for three weeks to allow the swelling to go down.

'It put an incredible strain on our marriage'

His estranged wife Chelsea Townend told the court the attack changed the course of her and Eliason's lives forever.

"The amount of trauma on his brain was a lot and it changed him. He became very angry and aggressive and depressed ... He could no longer work due to short term memory loss and seizures," she said reading from a victim impact statement.

"This put incredible strain on our marriage. He would have outbursts that would terrify me and eventually the trauma we had was the demise of our marriage."

On Wednesday, Kruger-Allen apologized in court for the pain and suffering he caused.

"I am truly sorry for what happened," he said. "I think about it every day ... I take responsibility for my actions."

Kruger-Allen had a traumatic childhood

The court heard that Kruger-Allen was exposed to domestic violence and drugs and alcohol at an early age.

He was often abandoned by his parents and when he was five years old he was left to wander the Penticton Indian Band reserve where he grew up, said Devji.

When he was seven year years old Kruger-Allen witnessed a fight between his parents where his father was choking his mother as she gestured for him to pick up the phone and call 911.

The childhood trauma has left him with entrenched anger issues where he often lashes out physically, Devji said.

"Mr. Kruger-Allen in the community poses real safety concerns to just about anyone he comes across," she said.

The Crown is asking the court for a sentence in the range of five to six years.

Kruger-Allen's defence lawyer James Pennington told the court a sentence of 12 to 18 months is reasonable and said his client wants to enter a residential treatment program to deal with his dependency on alcohol.

The sentencing hearing has been adjourned until March 5.