A 62-year-old man who was found guilty of stabbing his girlfriend during a birthday get-together was given a five-year prison sentence this afternoon.
Orest Garry Lylyk maintained his innocence throughout the trial -- even after he was sentenced while being led out of the courtroom in shackles. He paused at the door and turned to his former girlfriend to say: "I love you, and I didn’t do it, and you know it."
Lylyk had lived with his former girlfriend, who cannot be identified by a court order, for 15 years before July 2011 when he got drunk, grabbed a kitchen knife and chased her up the stairs of their East Kildonan home, the court was told. The woman locked herself in her bathroom and called police.
Lylyk fled but was arrested the next day. He was released on bail with strict conditions to stay away from the home, to abstain from consumption of alcohol and to not communicate or contact his girlfriend.
But a month later, Lylyk and the woman got together to celebrate her birthday. They drank and watched two CFL games on TV.
The woman, who had just turned 47, testified at the trial in May that later in the evening, a drunken Lylyk went into the kitchen, returned to the living room and, without provocation, stabbed her in the back and then in the front as she tried to defend herself.
The woman was stabbed a total of five times. She fled to a neighbour’s home across the street and called police.
Lylyk maintained he never attacked the woman. He admitted going to back to the home and drinking but claimed he had gone to bed and later got up and went out to a party down the street. He said his former girlfriend was attacked by a strange woman from that party.
Crown counsel Paul Girdlestone said sentences for similar crimes ranged from 16 months to eight years, and said a six-year sentence was appropriate for this attack.
"This is an opportunity to denounce domestic violence," Girdlestone said, adding that Lylyk had attacked the woman in a similar fashion only a month before and he did not comply with bail conditions.
Lylyk had been convicted in 2005 of assaulting the same woman.
Girdlestone said that a pre-sentence report on Lylyk concluded that he didn’t believe he was responsible for the attack even after he was convicted, he denied having an alcohol problem, and that he was likely at a high risk to re-offend in the future.
The woman read her victim impact statement to the court, explaining she still doesn’t understand why Lylyk attacked her. The woman said she’s been left with unsightly scars, suffered nightmares and is unable to trust people.
"Why did Garry do this?" the woman said. "Did he hate me so much?"
Defence counsel Mike Cook said Lylyk had held down a regular job and "he’s been a fairly decent guy." Cook argued Lylyk should be sentenced to the 23 months he’s served in custody since his arrest.
Justice Douglas Abra said domestic violence has reached epidemic proportions and he had to impose a sentence that would deter others.
"I find the circumstances (of the crime) to be disturbing," Abra said, adding that Lylyk appeared to have had no reason for attacking his former girlfriend and she was lucky not to have been killed.
Abra gave Lylyk credit for his time in custody since his arrest, and said he will serve another three years and two months.