Scott Shannon Wallace will be spending almost four years behind bars following a conviction for a violent assault on a local woman over the holiday season in 2017.
In Taber provincial court on June 5, 46-year-old Wallace was sentenced on charges of aggravated assault, unlawful confinement, and uttering threats, as well as an unrelated charge of disqualified driving from September 2017.
Judge E.W. Peterson sentenced Wallace to three years and eight months of incarceration in a federal penitentiary, as well as a four-year driving prohibition commencing after his sentence.
The accused appeared via CCTV from the Lethbridge Correctional Centre.
Wallace had pled guilty to the charges earlier in 2018, and sentencing was adjourned to June 5. Further charges of failure to appear in court, uttering threats, and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose were withdrawn by the Crown. Another charge of disqualified driving was adjourned to Lethbridge provincial court on June 21.
Crown prosecutor Tom Brannen summarized the facts of the case for the court. On Dec. 23, 2017, the accused had contacted the female victim for a ride to Taber from Medicine Hat to visit family members. Wallace was picked up by this individual, and the pair then attended a licensed establishment in Medicine Hat for several hours before the accused purchased a bottle of hard liquor, which he consumed on the ride to Taber while becoming intoxicated.
Near Bow Island, the victim was instructed to pull over so the accused could urinate. Before doing so, Wallace removed the keys from the vehicle and threatened to kill the victim multiple times if she attempted to leave the vehicle or vicinity. At this time, the accused also punched the victim in the right side of her body.
According to Brannen, after continuing the drive to Taber, at around 9 p.m. Wallace ordered the victim to proceed to an apartment complex in the 5500 block of 38th Avenue.
While inside the vehicle outside of this building, the accused initiated a violent assault of the victim, punching her forcefully and repeatedly in the face and body before the victim briefly lost consciousness. Not long after this incident, the female victim struggled with the accused while attempting to flee, with Wallace seizing a handful of the victim’s hair which was torn out.
The victim escaped and was rescued by a passerby who assisted her in contacting the Taber Police Service, after which she was transported to the Taber Hospital for treatment. Wallace — who had blood and hair still evident on his hands — was arrested in a nearby apartment building in the area where the assault had occurred, and was charged with multiple offences.
Brannen noted the victim had suffered serious injuries as a result of the assault, including extensive facial bruising and a fractured nose and orbital bone, as well as other injuries to her body. The victim had also feared for her life throughout the incident in question following multiple threats of death and physical attacks by the accused.
In his sentencing arguments, Brannen — who had argued for a four-year sentence for the accused — pointed out the victim still suffers lingering effects of the assault both physically, emotionally and financially, as she has been unable to return to work as a result. The protracted nature of the assault and confinement was also a significant factor involved in the seriousness of the incident.
“The accused subjected the victim to an extended period of protracted terror, and she effected escape only when the accused was otherwise occupied,” said Brannen.
Several victim impact statements from the victim’s family were reviewed, including from her husband, who read the document personally in open court. When afforded a chance to address the court, Wallace apologized to the victim and her family while noting his extensive history of addiction issues.
In addition to his jail sentence, Judge Peterson ordered the accused to surrender a sample of his DNA for the National DNA Data Bank, as well as issuing a 10-year weapons prohibition. Wallace will receive credit for eight months time served in pre-trial custody as part of his sentence.
“The victim was subjected to several hours of terrorization,” said Peterson during his ruling.
Wallace has an extensive criminal history, including nine previous convictions for assault, and 19 previous convictions for driving while disqualified. Wallace’s most recent conviction in Taber was for disqualified driving and failure to comply with a probation order stemming from a conviction in July 2016.
In relation to the unrelated charge of disqualified driving, on Sept. 1, 2017, Wallace was stopped by authorities while operating a vehicle on Highway 1 near Medicine Hat. The accused had no valid licence, insurance or registration, and was determined to be a disqualified driver. Wallace was charged with the offence.