UPDATE at 3 p.m.
If let out of jail, Thomas Kruger-Allen poses an ‘incredible risk’ to the community, according to a submission by Crown counsel in a sentencing hearing held in Penticton Supreme Court on Tuesday (Feb. 23).
“Until his anger can be managed, Kruger-Allen poses a serious safety concern in his community to just about anyone he comes across,” said the Crown prosecutor.
Kruger-Allen, 23, is being sentenced for the May 2019 attack that left one of his three victims with a traumatic brain injury.
Crown prosecutor Nashina Devji is asking for five to six years in jail.
With credit for time served, Kruger-Allen will see more than two years taken off any sentence he is given, said Crown.
Defense counsel is asking for 12 to 18 months with Kruger-Allen going to a treatment centre upon his release.
“My submission is he is not a lost cause,” said lawyer James Pennington.
In June 2020, Kruger-Allen pleaded guilty to aggravated assault of Brad Eliason for the beach attack. He also pleaded guilty to assaulting two young women the same night on the beach.
When the attacks occurred, Kruger-Allen was out on a bail for an unrelated, unprovoked attack outside the then Mule Club. He also is going to trial in May, charged in a home invasion he allegedly committed while out on bail from the beach attacks.
His psychological report, which included an anger test, indicated that Kruger-Allen is at “a high risk of recidivism” and has a pattern of anti-social behaviour. He has an anti-social personality disorder and a ‘high degree of dispositional anger that is higher in intensity and length’ comparatively.
The psychiatrist also stated Kruger-Allen has a problem with misinterpreting events and seeing perceived threats that aren’t necessarily there that trigger him.
On May 3, 2019, around 10:30 p.m. Brad Eliason and a friend were having a fire on Okanagan Lake beach when a Kruger-Allen, who they didn’t know, changed Eliason’s life forever.
Earlier, Eliason and his friend were joined at the fire by two young women and a young man, before Kruger-Allen arrived.
Kruger-Allen, reportedly drunk, walked up to one of the women and grabbed her bottom. It was an unwanted sexual advance. Witnesses report that the woman shoved him away, clearly upset with his actions.
Kruger-Allen responded by punching the woman in the chest. The woman’s friend tried to diffuse the situation when Kruger-Allen then punched her in the face.
While this was happening, Eliason and his friend had left the fire to get more wood. When they returned, they saw the commotion. Eliason’s friend asked Kruger-Allen “what is going on?”, while witnesses say, Eliason was stood nearby on a concrete platform.
That’s when Kruger-Allen walked up to Eliason and punched him in the face. The upper-cut punch sent Eliason flying back, hitting his head on the concrete. Kruger-Allen was reportedly laughing and then he walked away.
Eliason suffered a major traumatic brain injury. He was taken to Kelowna General Hospital where a portion of his skull was removed to relieve the swelling of his brain. He was placed in a medically-induced coma for three weeks and once awake he suffered numerous seizures and other trauma.
Eliason read his impact statement out loud in court. He said his life has been impacted physically and emotionally. He continues to have seizures, suffers from PTSD and anxiety.
“I lost everything, my marriage, my job, my dog, home. I have screws attaching my skull which sucks,” he said.
He can’t drive and he struggles financially, said the Crown.
Eliason’s ex-wife Chelsea Townend also read her victim statement in court, saying the life they had was “all taken away that night when Thomas decided to assault my husband. Brad’s biggest dream was to have a family. He was a hard worker, we were a happy couple with a life ahead of us.”
The assault and resulting emotional and physical damage was the demise of their marriage. They both suffer from PTSD.
Crown submitted that even in jail Kruger-Allen, who is a member of the Penticton Indian Band, continued to have problems complying with the most basic rules and has been violent against other inmates and officers.
The court heard that Kruger-Allen described his childhood as chaotic where both parents drank and smoked crack-cocaine, were violent towards him and each other.
He suffered severe neglect where he was often left alone for weeks at a time at a very young age. He was sexually abused and suffered anger early in life, the report stated.
Defense presented its case Tuesday afternoon, saying that the key to managing his anger is managing his alcohol.
But the judge disagreed with the defense on this point.
“These are two separate issues and I’m not sure you can say alcohol management is the key to his anger.”
The judge went on to say that intense anger management treatment is needed.
“Where is that in your submissions?” the judge questioned.
Defense said that Kruger-Allen isn’t the same man he was in May 2019. But again, the judge questioned this statement as well, pointing out that the psychological report was done in August 2020 and pointed to being a high risk.
Sentencing will take into account his Indigineous status and the Gladue principals.
Kruger-Allen is expected to be sentenced Wednesday.