A 22-year-old Yellowknife man who struck another man in the head with a pie iron during a dispute on Prelude Lake was convicted of assault causing bodily harm in NWT Supreme Court Monday.
Daniel Hache, who was originally charged with aggravated assault, pleaded guilty to the lesser included offence of assault causing bodily harm.
By pleading guilty to the charge – of which he was subsequently convicted – Hache accepted the facts of the case agreed to by his lawyer and the Crown.
On June 19, 2017, the court heard, Hache and the victim were building a cabin on an island on Prelude Lake near Yellowknife. After working throughout the day, the two, along with the victim’s partner, began drinking. The victim went to bed, and Hache and the woman stayed up. After midnight, on June 20, Hache’s traveled via a personal watercraft to pick up another woman at a dock near the Prelude Lake campsite.
Hache’s watercraft partially sunk en route, and he called the victim’s partner to retrieve him, which took some time.
Once back at the camp, Hache and the victim’s partner began arguing about the how long she took to arrive – awaking the victim. The victim physically confronted his partner, telling her to stop yelling, while Hache yelled at the man to stop touching her. Hache witnessed the man strike the woman. The victim then came towards Hache with his arms raised.
Hache, the court heard, picked up a nearby pie iron – a plated cast-iron cooking appliance – and used it to strike the man in the head, causing him to fall and hit his head on either a fireplace structure or a rock.
Hache called Yellowknife RCMP and spoke with an operator nine times as he attempted to tend to the victim’s wound. He was arrested and released shortly after.
The man suffered serious injuries. He sustained a significant skull fracture which left his brain partially exposed, requiring a plastic plate to be installed and resulting in speech problems. The victim, said prosecutor Morgan Fane, is recovering from the “life endangering” injury “against medical odds.”
Both Fane and the defence, Thomas Boyd, agree Hache was acting defensively when he struck the victim, but that the force he used was disproportionate to the threat he perceived.
Whether or not the injury stemmed from Hache striking the victim or the victim falling and hitting his head is not “medically knowable,” submitted Fane.
Charbonneau ordered a pre-sentence report, and a victim impact statement has been filed.
Hache, who remains out of custody, will be back in court on March 5 for a sentencing hearing.