A mix of anxiety medication and alcohol was blamed in provincial court on Thursday for an unintended confrontation that turned violent.
Craig Pettigrew was sentenced to 12 months of probation for forcible entry, assault with a weapon and assault causing bodily harm.
Pettigrew, a young member of the Neskonlith First Nation, told his lawyer that he has no memory of what occurred in the early morning hours of June 30, 2012, but was appalled to learn what he’d done.
Pettigrew said a friend dropped him off on the North Shore after they were drinking at a downtown club. He started walking, became disoriented and wound up in a home on 13th Street.
Crown lawyer Jenny Reid told the court that Pettigrew was lost and didn’t know why he was in the house. She called it a very unusual case.
Harbhajan Basran encountered the intruder and fought back, thinking he was the victim of a home invasion. Pettigrew hit the older man with a stick as they struggled inside, then outside the home. Basran’s son heard the commotion, called police then waited inside for them to arrive.
“It’s not like (Pettigrew) to get into a fight and he’s never been in a serious fight before,” Reid said. “He is on meds for anxiety and drank. That, combined with medication, is probably not the best cocktail for him.”
Basran was hospitalized due to his injuries. The family never responded to requests for a statement, Reid said.
There is nothing to suggest Pettigrew needs a Rogers order, which would require him to follow doctors’ orders in maintaining his mental health, she added.
Defence counsel Chris Thompson said his client woke up in at the police station and was shocked by the circumstances. He hasn’t had alcohol since, Thompson said.
Judge Stella Frame hesitated in sentencing Pettigrew, since a pre-sentence report recommended forensic psychiatric counselling.
“If you’re going to be on this medication for life, you need to make (abstinence) a lifetime decision,” Frame said.
Various conditions were attached to the probation order, including that Pettigrew must apologize to Basran within 10 months.