A provincial court judge ruled Monday that "exceptional circumstances" will keep a Merritt man out of jail who admitted to a vigilante-style assault on someone he believed sexually assaulted his girlfriend.
Adrian Retasket, 25, pleaded guilty to assault with a weapon, a second conviction on the same charge.
Judge Roy Dickey gave a six-month conditional sentence to Retasket, including an evening curfew, along with 18 months probation.
The Crown asked for a jail sentence of 60 to 90 days.
"The instinct to mete out punishment on his own with a baseball bat needs to be deterred," said Crown lawyer Iain Currie. "It doesn't seem from the pre-sentence report that Mr. Retasket understands that."
Currie said several witnesses saw the attack with a baseball bat on Nov. 5, 2012.
Retasket was the passenger in a car driven by his girlfriend, who had earlier purchased the aluminium bat. She reported the man, Arthur Dick, to RCMP, accusing him of sexually assaulting her three months earlier.
But the Crown did not levy charges against Dick due to a lack of sufficient evidence to convict.
A witness told police that Retasket "swung with both hands" in the beating in downtown Merritt that left Dick unconscious. Dick later left hospital, telling police he was drunk and had no recollection of events.
Currie said Dick is "not the most sympathetic victim,
"But he was vulnerable in the circumstances."
Defence lawyer Chris Thompson said Retasket is laid off, but expects to return to work as a valuable employee with a fisheries organization. He said Retasket learned his lesson and doesn't belong in jail.
Retasket told Dickey both he and his wife stopped drinking shortly after the incidents. He is active in practising First Nations traditions and helps support his girlfriend and her two children.
"The sex assault occurred when my partner was out drinking by herself. It helped us to stop drinking."
Retasket also said he wouldn't do the same thing again.
"I was angry, frustrated with police - nothing happened at the time."
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