Prince Albert Provincial Court. Photo by Chelsea Laskowski.
A Weyakwin man has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for a domestic attempted murder that left a woman blind in one eye.
At trial it was found that Lavallee, 27, had caught the woman – who is the mother of his two children – in bed with another man, and proceeded to very deliberately slash her throat and stab her a total of 14 times. Trial evidence showed he stopped only when he heard someone banging on the doors of the house.
This all took place in February of 2016, in the same Weyakwin home where one of the former couple’s kids was staying.
At Lavallee’s Tuesday sentencing, Schiefner reiterated directly to Lavallee that he determined there had been an intent to kill, and it was only by good fortune and medical care the victim is alive. She still has limited functioning in one arm due to deep a ligature cut and has no vision in one eye.
Schiefner acknowledged Lavallee’s trial testimony that he was “shocked, horrified” by what he encountered the night of the offence, despite having little memory of the stabbing. Regardless, the judge said denunciation and deterrence in relation to domestic attacks are key factors in his sentence.
Throughout sentencing arguments, Lavallee’s father Warren Lavallee and mother Yvonne Cachane sat in the gallery, occasionally crying, each of them with an arm around Lavallee’s back. He has been out on bail for all but around 20 days since being charged, and was taken into custody again on Tuesday.
Both parents stood to make comments about their own upbringing, parenting, past alcoholism and journey to sobriety, and about Matthew’s close relationship with his children, which has been impacted by his criminal proceedings.
Warren pointed to the events leading to the offence, saying “someone else violates your family, I don’t think that’s right” and makes a person feel less of a man, while defence lawyer Pab Chetty repeatedly said Matthew had “become unhinged” in the following moments. A pre-sentence report found a high score related to concerns of his risk to reoffend against a future partner.
“Have mercy on him,” Warren said, and Cachane said “I am pleading for leniency.”
Lavallee stood as well, saying he is “truly and deeply sorry” for his acts and “I am filled with regret every day.” He said he cannot imagine the pain he cause to a woman who has been one of the most important people in his life, and “this will haunt me for the rest of my life.”
The Crown was asking for 15 years, and defence’s request was simply that attempted murder should surely not get a more serious sentence than manslaughter.
Schiefner cited a number of similarities between Lavallee’s case and a precedent-setting domestic attempted murder in Nova Scotia, which did net 15 years for the offender.
After considering and accepting one key factor – remorse – Schiefner delivered a sentence five years shorter than that.
After what Schiefner called a “trying case,” his final words were “say goodbye to your parents, you are now going into custody,” before Lavallee and his parents embraced in a bear hug for a number of heavily emotional moments.
Outside court, Lavallee’s mother and father declined comment.