Crown wants five years in prison for Kamloops man who levelled violent ambush

5 years for ambush attack?

A Kamloops man is facing a five-year prison sentence for his part in an ambush-style attack in which a man was pinned down and cut, but his role in the violent incident is still unexplained.

Jesse Shane Coueffin, 28, was convicted of aggravated assault and break and enter last year following a trial in Kamloops provincial court. He was in court on Wednesday for sentencing.

Coueffin was convicted for his part in the Jan. 24, 2021, attack, in which the victim thought he would be spending time with a woman, but was instead pinned down and suffered injuries to his face and upper body — later requiring dental work to repair.

“It was two against one and the evidence is that Mr. Coueffin’s girlfriend at the time had been recruited to assist in this plan,” Crown prosecutor Leah Winters said in court.

“This was a deliberate act, Mr. Coueffin was either using the knife himself or he was assisting the other party.”

Court heard that a third party who was involved hasn’t been charged and that a knife the victim says was used in the assault was never found.

Winters said brass knuckles involved in the assault had Coueffin’s DNA on them.

Justine Marie Hunt, Coueffin’s co-accused, was sentenced in February to 18 months of probation for possession of a weapon and break and enter.

Defence lawyer John Gustafson said Coueffin has had no prior criminal record, has distanced himself from trouble by taking a job out of town and has lived in the community without incident for nearly three years since the assault.

“The issue here appears to be Mr. Coueffin spending his time around some of the wrong people, and while that's a fairly vague suggestion it is supported by the evidence that we have before the court,” Gustafson said.

“Although his explanation is not detailed, to his credit he's not taking it upon himself to blame anyone but himself for his actions. So while there's not a guilty plea, there is a degree of accepting responsibility.”

Gustafson said it's unknown whether a knife was involved in the assault or if it was only the brass knuckles. Also unknown is who handled the weapons.

“There's some indication the brass knuckles may have been involved with the presence of blood,” he said.

“But we don't know which of the two parties had them during the time at the offense. We know that Mr. Coueffin handled them at some point as evidenced by his DNA.”

Winters is asking for a five-year prison sentence, while Gustafson is asking for two years to be followed by probation.

At the time of the assault, police said officers responded to a report of a disturbance involving two men fighting at an address on the 2700-block of Thompson Drive.

Coueffin is scheduled to return to court to learn his sentence on Dec. 4.

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