(News Bulletin file)

Man involved in beating and tasering over a drug debt to be sentenced in Nanaimo

Colin Damen Gary Lamontagne pleaded guilty to charges, including aggravated assault

A man involved in a 2016 assault where a drug addict was bound, beaten and left at a Nanaimo park is expected to be sentenced by a B.C. Supreme Court judge on Friday.

Colin Damen Gary Lamontagne was arrested on Nov. 29, 2016, during Vancouver Island Emergency Response Team and E Division clan lab team 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 (including fentanyl and the date rape drug) for the purpose of trafficking and possession of a loaded handgun.

Sentencing began on Tuesday at B.C. Supreme Court in Nanaimo in front of Judge Jeanne Watchuk, with Nick Barber, Crown counsel, seeking a 10-year global prison sentence and Stephen Taylor, defence counsel, seeking a two-year sentence with probation.

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Barber told the court Lamontagne was a “charismatic violent offender” and the assault, which also involved other people, was over a drug debt. This wasn’t an impulsive assault, said Barber, it was an “ongoing, well-thought-out torture of a vulnerable drug addict, a man, in the context of a drug trafficking operation, where weapons were involved,” he said. The man was tied up, beaten, stomped, punched and kicked. Weapons were used, including a Taser, and he was dumped at Diver Lake Park in central Nanaimo in the middle of the night in November. The man suffered injuries, including broken ribs, hand and a punctured lung, Barber said.

Taylor said the efforts Lamontagne has made are “distinguishable” and the “insight” and “clarity” he gained will make him a low risk to re-offend.

Taylor cited prison reports describing Lamontagne as someone who moved into a leadership role in his living unit. Guards expressed concern about what would happen if he were to be moved. They would be worse off, a guard reported.

Lamontagne addressed the court and said he joined a group that deals with addiction and an indigenous healing circle after arriving at prison. Both have allowed him to see how his negative behaviour and poor attitude made his life corrosive and unmanageable. Lamontagne said he was ashamed of his poor choices.

In 2018, Lamontagne pleaded guilty to manslaughter in relation to a 2015 incident where he tried to quiet a man who was “high on drugs,” according to Barber. In doing so, Lamontagne contributed to the man’s death, Barber said.

Watchuk said she will render her decision on Friday.


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