A man found guilty of stabbing his ex-girlfriend with a syringe containing his own hepatitis C-infected blood has been sentenced to 30 months in prison.
Justice Wayne Dymond handed down the sentence Friday at Newfoundland Supreme Court in St. John’s.
Darrell Benjamin Phelan was found guilty April 12 of aggravated assault and breaching a probation order.
Credited with 16 months for time-served since his arrest Jan. 29, 2011, Phelan will serve his remaining 14 months at a provincial institution.
He also received three years probation and a 60-day sentence for breaching probation, the latter of which will be served concurrent to the 30-month sentence.
The Crown had been looking for an eight-year sentence, while the defence suggested two years.
In his written ruling, Dymond said the fact Phelan’s victim did not contract hepatitis C was a mitigating factor in his decision, as was Phelan’s drug addiction, for which the judge noted he has been seeking treatment.
“It is the hope that he will be able to control his drug addiction and become employable,” wrote Dymond, who also noted Phelan has a young child and carpentry skills.
“In this case, hepatitis C, if contracted, is treatable with drugs. This was a one-time incident and it was done out of rage because his girlfriend broke up with him. It does not excuse such behaviour, but it is a consideration.”
Unlike cases where individuals have received shorter sentences for recklessly transmitting HIV to sexual partners, Dymond said Phelan’s actions were carried out to cause intentional harm. Thus, he elected to give a lengthier sentence in comparison to such cases.
The incident happened at the home of the victim on the same day Phelan was arrested. The woman was stabbed in her upper thigh and had to take drugs for months to fend off the disease.
In his testimony, Phelan said he used syringes to inject cocaine into his arm. He denied stabbing the woman with his syringe and suggested she stole one of his syringes and punctured herself as a form of revenge against Phelan for taking her purse weeks earlier.