Editor’s note: This story contains graphic descriptions readers may find disturbing.
On Dec. 7, the B.C. Supreme Court posted a decision that will see three men serve jail time after a 2019 assault in Gibsons.
Madam Justice Shelley C. Fitzpatrick ruled on Nov. 4 in the Supreme Court of BC in Vancouver that Matthew Robert Braun, 41, has been sentenced to two years in prison for aggravated assault. David Carmichael, 42, and Sean Rodrigue Lizee, 37, will serve three years each in prison for a kidnapping charge.
The charges relate to an incident on April 18, 2019, when they assaulted and kidnapped Warren Paine with intent to cause him to be confined against his will, according to court documents.
On April 17, 2019, Paine met a friend at a residence in Gibsons, where Braun and Lizee showed up and all were drinking, according to the judge’s written decision. The three men went to a local pub where they met up with Carmichael and continued to drink. Here, the three accused men began to accuse Paine of “various matters relating to a fire of a grow operation that had occurred some years earlier,” the decision states.
The group then went to Braun’s residence where “matters took a more serious turn when again all three accused renewed their accusations against Mr. Paine. The heated discussions in the kitchen sparked various physical altercations between the men, mostly directed at Mr. Paine,” said the decision.
The fight moved to a back bedroom in the house, where Paine continued to fight with Lizee and Carmichael, who punched him and burned his face and hands.
By the early morning hours of April 18, the three accused men forced Paine into the back seat of Lizee’s SUV and drove to the ferry terminal, but were too late and missed the 6:20 a.m. ferry to Vancouver – the first of what the judge described as three “hapless” moves.
The group returned to Braun’s house and Paine was able to contact his mother with his cell phone, which the men had not taken from him. When Braun discovered the text messages, he smashed a beer bottle into Paine’s face, Paine told the court.
Paine was able to escape through an open door while the men were cleaning up his blood. He was taken to a local hospital but airlifted to Vancouver General Hospital where he underwent multiple surgeries, said the decision.
“Mr. Paine’s injuries were very serious; his face was smashed in; he could not breathe; blood was running into his lungs; his orbital eye was smashed and out of the socket and had to be stapled back in; he had burns on his cheeks, upper lip, chin and hand, arising [from] the actions of Mr. Lizee and Mr. Carmichael; his mouth needed to wired together from the beer bottle smashing his jaw as thrown by Mr. Braun; some teeth were broken off; he had to have metal plates inserted all around his facial area,” the judgement states.
Part of Fitzpatrick’s decision includes that the three accused men will pay an equal share of Paine’s continued treatment plans estimated at a total of $27,625. Crown and defence counsel also agreed on a DNA order, firearms prohibition of 10 years and victim surcharge of $100 each.
All three men will serve their time at William Head Institution on Vancouver Island, where programs related to alcohol and drug treatment are offered. The proximity of the institution will allow the men to remain close to their families. Braun and Lizee are both Gibsons residents. Carmichael does not live on the Sunshine Coast, but owns a business in Sechelt and Powell River.
The Nov. 4 judgement follows the two-day trial that began on July 12, 2021. Both Paine and his mother gave evidence. Although all three of the accused initially pleaded not guilty to the charges, after the first day of the trial, on July 13, counsels for the defence indicated they would enter a guilty plea to certain charges.
The judge accepted Braun’s guilty plea to aggravated assault and the guilty pleas of Lizee and Carmichael to the kidnapping charge.
Fitzpatrick’s decision describes the accused as family men.
“They have all, to this point in time, conducted themselves properly and legally in their daily lives without incident. This incident does seem to be unusual behaviour on the part of all three men,” Fitzpatrick’s judgement states. “As I said, the incident was driven by any number of circumstances here, including the consumption of a large amount of alcohol.”
She called the kidnapping “fairly unusual” in that it was not pre-planned or premeditated. There were no weapons involved, nor evidence of any gang involvement.
“This seems to have been a situation where the events simply spiralled out of control and took their own course of events. That characterization does not excuse the actions of Mr. Lizee and Mr. Carmichael, but it makes the situation somewhat more understandable,” her decision reads.
After deciding the sentencing for each of the accused was appropriate, Fitzpatrick said, “It is clear enough that these three men, who have had no experience with the criminal justice system over their lives, will have adequate time to reflect upon the poor choices that they made that gave rise to this result, and how they might seek to rehabilitate themselves in the eyes of their family and their community.”