(News Bulletin file)

Man who pleaded guilty to beating over drug debt sees nine-year jail sentence

Colin Damen Gary Lamontagne sentenced in B.C. Supreme Court in Nanaimo

A B.C. Supreme Court judge has sentenced a man involved in the 2016 beating of a man addicted to drugs to nine years in jail, with no credit for time served.

Colin Damen Gary Lamontagne was arrested on Nov. 29, 2016, during police operations at residences on Ninth Street and Cedar Road. Lamontagne, who was out on bail at the time for a 2015 manslaughter charge in Victoria, pleaded guilty in May to charges of aggravated assault, forcible confinement, possession of controlled substances (cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, fentanyl, carfentanil and the date rape drug) for the purpose of trafficking and possession of a loaded handgun.

The victim owed money to Lamontagne and was tied up, stomped, punched and kicked, with a Taser used in the assault. The man was forced to clean up his own blood and dumped at Diver Lake Park in the middle of the night in November. He suffered injuries, including broken ribs and hand, a punctured lung and required surgery.

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Sentencing began on Tuesday with Barber seeking a 10-year global prison sentence and Stephen Taylor, Lamontagne’s legal counsel, a two-year sentence with probation. In the end, Judge Jeanne Watchuk ruled that Lamontagne would spend nine years behind bars.

Watchuk said a total 15-year sentence for all counts was “fit and appropriate,” with six years for the aggravated assault, four years concurrent for the unlawful confinement, four years consecutive for possessing cocaine, heroin, the date rape drug and methamphetamines, five years (concurrent to other drug charge and consecutive to the assault) for possessing fentanyl and carfentanil. He was also sentenced to four years consecutive to all other counts for possessing the gun.

However, while Watchuk said the length of each individual sentence is just, all taken together were disproportionate and does not take into account the degree of rehabilitation, which in her opinion was an important factor in this sentencing. This led to her reconsideration to nine years.

Broken down, Lamontagne was sentenced to five years for assault, four years concurrently for unlawful confinement, four years consecutive for possessing cocaine, heroin, the date rape drug and methamphetamines, five years concurrent for possessing fentanyl and carfentanil and four years concurrent for possessing the firearm.

In addition, Lamontagne must submit a DNA sample and is banned from owning firearms for life.

After sentencing, Barber said Watchuk’s ruling was appropriate, as it fits within the line of the case law. He said he wasn’t surprised with the judge reconsidering the sentence.

“It’s the usual process where a sentence is given for each offence and then it’s all added up. If it’s too high, too crushing of a sentence, then it’s reduced to a certain degree and that’s exactly the procedure that was followed in court,” said Barber.

While Lamontagne is currently incarcerated at Vancouver Island Regional Correctional Centre in Victoria, he will be moved to a federal penitentiary and federal corrections will decide where he serves his sentence, Barber said.

Taylor didn’t wish to comment.

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