Accused in acid attack on girlfriend remains behind bars
A Quebec Court judge has denied bail to a Longueuil man who stands accused of assaulting his girlfriend by throwing acid in her face.
Friends of Tanya St. Arnauld were all smiles and high-fiving each other as they left the courtroom, very happy her accused attacker Nikolas Stefanatos is staying behind bars.
"There's proof that some justice is being rendered," Amélie Lacelle told reporters.
Quebec Court Judge Claude Provost did not mince words in handing down his decision, telling Crown Prosecutor Erin Kavanagh he didn't need to hear her arguments. For nearly 20 minutes, Provost sternly rebuked Stefanatos, calling his alleged crimes serious, likely meaning a lengthy sentence if convicted.
Burning someone with acid is the worst crime, a horrible crime, Provost said, a direct attack on the physical integrity of a person.
"It disfigures, it changes your body, face, your person, your personality," Provost said.
St. Arnauld's mother Linda St. Arnauld agreed wholeheartedly with the judge.
"Barbarian crime, it's not excusable," St. Arnauld told CJAD News.
Stefanatos testified that he's had drug and alcohol problems for a long time, describing himself as a drug dealer. He testified he was drunk and stoned on pot and speed the day St. Arnauld was attacked, adding she herself had smoked pot with him that day and that they had ecstasy trips during their six month relationship.
He testified he was willing to enter therapy upon release but that didn't convince the judge, who said Stefanatos was unreliable, breaking conditions and failing to show up in court in the past. The judge also cited Stefanatos' previous charge and conviction of assault, also on another woman, which Provost said was worriesome for public security and maintaining trust in the justice system.
Stefanatos' mother testified she was ready to put up $2000 to bail her son out.
A police officer testified that the relationship between Stefanatos, 27, and St. Arnauld, 29, was a rocky one, citing two other similar incidents in which ketchup and all-purpose household cleaner were thrown.
Johnathan Bouchard testified that St. Arnauld was attacked on August 26, a powerful acid-like cleaner thrown on her face. He testified she said she felt pain in her eye and was also splashed on her back. He testified she said it took all her energy to get up and seek refuge at her neighbour's. Bouchard testified she said she felt burned all over, her skin peeling, that her neck was white, red and grey.
St. Arnauld was in an induced coma for a couple of days and had to undergo several skin grafts. Bouchard testified that she is undergoing physiotherapy, still unable to lift her hands or head.
Stefanatos is charged with aggravated assault, assault with a weapon and assault causing bodily harm.
The next court date is set for next week.