Sorrento man freed after pleading guilty to assault

  • Nov. 7, 2018 1:30 p.m.

A former junior hockey player who has avoided jail twice in recent years after levelling violent attacks — one against a former girlfriend and the other against his father — again walked out of court a free man on Thursday after pleading guilty to a new charge of domestic assault.

Isaac Willard, 26, pleaded guilty to one count of assault stemming from an incident with a new girlfriend earlier this year.

Court heard police were called to the Sorrento home Willard lives in with his mother on Feb. 22 for a report of an altercation.

Crown prosecutor Chris Balison said Willard, his then-girlfriend and a group of friends were drinking in the basement of the home when Willard began acting rude.

Balison said Willard’s girlfriend got up to leave with her dog.

“At one point, Mr. Willard got up and threw a chair at both of them,” he said. “He took her outside by dragging her. Others tried to intervene but he continued to push her into the snow and continued the assault.”

When police showed up, court heard, the woman ran to officers.

Willard has a history of launching into violent rages.

Related: Hockey player beats girlfriend in ‘shocking’ attack

In April 2015, Willard attacked his then-girlfriend while walking home from a Chase pub. In that case, he grabbed her by the hair, forced her to the ground and began punching her in the face and kicking her in the ribs.

A neighbour heard screaming and called 911. The victim was left with injuries to her nose and ear, as well as several broken teeth.

Willard was not jailed but placed on house arrest for 75 days and ordered to pay $6,600 in restitution to cover the victim’s dental bills.

Two weeks after the incident in Chase, Willard attacked his dad in a violent, steroid-induced rage, also breaking the nose of a woman who attempted to intervene.

Willard’s father required reconstructive facial surgery and suffered a long-term injury to one of his eyes.

In 2016, when Willard was sentenced for the attack on his father, Crown prosecutor Neil Flanagan said he would have been seeking an 18-month jail sentence if not for Willard’s father’s pleas for a light sentence.

For the attack on his father, Willard was placed on six months of house arrest and a lengthy term of probation.

In court on Thursday, Balison and defence lawyer Don Campbell pitched a joint submission for time served, taking into account four days Willard spent in custody following his February arrest.

Kamloops provincial court Judge Stephen Harrison went along with the deal, also placing Willard on a year-long probation term with orders barring him from contacting the victim or consuming alcohol. He will also be required to attend counselling as directed by his probation officer.

Willard played for the Chase Heat in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League in the 2011-2012 season, amassing 16 points and 28 penalty minutes in 36 games. He also played one game for the Chase Chiefs, the Heat’s predecessor, in the 2009-2010 KIJHL season.


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