Sentencing delayed while victim’s statement translated

A sealed victim impact statement written in Russian delayed sentencing of a man convicted of stabbing his wife then attempting to kill himself.

A sealed victim impact statement written in Russian delayed sentencing of a man convicted of stabbing his wife then attempting to kill himself.

When a qualified interpreter couldn’t be located, provincial court Judge Thomas Schollie said sentencing had to be delayed until July 30.

Hamadullah Barzka, 34, of Red Deer had just pleaded guilty to aggravated assault in the April 18, 2008, stabbing of his wife, who wrote the impact statement.

Such statements are sealed at the time they are written and only opened when an accused has pleaded guilty and sentencing is underway.

The court has no notice of its content or language until it is opened in court.

Barzka, who had a Persian language interpreter translating for him, can speak Russian but Schollie said it’s not appropriate for him to translate.

Schollie ordered that the statement be translated into English for the next court appearance.

Victims will sometimes read their statement but the woman in this case wasn’t present. She has relocated to an undisclosed location.

The accused was originally charged with attempted murder. Three other charges were withdrawn.

Crown prosecutor Robin Fiander asked Schollie to sentence the accused to a jail term of between two and five years.

She said a community-based sentence isn’t allowed in this case under terms of recent Criminal Code amendments concerning serious aggravating offences.

Fiander told court that Barzka had been on a two-week alcohol binge and wanted to have sex with his wife when he came home but she refused because she recently had a child.

The accused then retrieved a kitchen knife and stabbed his wife near the heart while she was in bed.

He then stabbed himself twice in the chest and his wife fled into an apartment hallway yelling for help.

He followed and stabbed himself again several times with another knife.

The victim’s wound wasn’t serious but required hospitalization.

Barzka’s wounds were life-threatening and required surgery and hospitalization for several weeks.

Barzka was granted bail last year but violated terms of his release by contacting his wife and not reporting to police.

He was arrested again and pleaded guilty to seven counts of breaching his release. He received six months in jail on those charges last November.

Fiander said Barzka has served the equivalent of 11 months in jail not related to the breaches.

She said an aggravating factor was that two children, including an infant, were in the apartment at the time of the attack.

“This was a serious assault in the privacy and sanctity of her own home where she should feel safe,” Fiander said.

She said the guilty plea isn’t timely and the victim had to testify at the preliminary.

Defence lawyer Walter Kubanek said if a community-based sentence isn’t allowed, then his client should be freed because he has served 11 months in remand.

He said that is equivalent to more than two years in jail based on previous allowances of two-for-one recognition before the law changed this spring.

The new law does away with two-for-one allowances except in special cases.

Now accused only get a one-for-one credit for time served in remand.

Kubanek said his client never drank in his native Afghanistan and was introduced to booze when he moved to Kurdistan and met his Russian wife before coming to Canada six years ago.

jwilson@bprda.wpengine.com