Man in Bergin Avenue stabbing given 5.5 year prison sentence

In this September 2017, file photo, Cornwall police Acting Sgt. Derek Duschesne checks with a flashlight for possible evidence following a stabbing. The accused in the case, 34-year-old Eric Vivarais, has been given a sentence of nearly six years in prison for attempted murder. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

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CORNWALL – A Cornwall man has been given a five-and-a-half year prison sentence for stabbing another man on Bergin Avenue in September 2017.

Eric Vivarais, 34, received the sentence Nov. 26 after pleading guilty to charges of attempted murder and failing to keep the peace.

Vivarais was given credit for 429 days of time served, credited at one-and-a-half to one, meaning he will serve a little more than three years and eight months behind bars.

He was also given a concurrent sentence of one year on the breach of probation charge.

The remaining charges – assault with a weapon and possession of a dangerous weapon – were withdrawn by the Crown.

Court heard how Vivarais had plunged a butter knife into Derek Richardson during an argument on the lawn of a home on Bergin Avenue. Vivarais became enraged after learning Richardson was sleeping with his ex-girlfriend.

The victim was stabbed hard enough to puncture his lung, causing it to collapse.

Judge Deborah Kinsella said, even though it happened in 2017, she considered the matter an early plea because Vivarais almost immediately accepted responsibility for his actions. The extended time period was for judicial pretrials and to also order mental health assessments.

“You demonstrated significant remorse, both by your plea of guilty and by the letters that you wrote. You also show some insight, I think. You sort of now perhaps understand what has led you before the courts again and again and you have some tools to stop that from happening once you get released,” Kinsella said.

But the sentence also took into account some of the aggravating factors of the case, including the wounds to the victim.

“Butter knifes are not sharp knifes. They are rather blunted at the end. But if I look at the pictures, particularly of the wound to Mr. Richardson’s side, that would have taken, in my view, a great deal of force to puncture through someone’s chest cavity into their lung. Luckily he has recovered without issues,” Kinsella said.

Kinsella added that Vivarais does have mental health issues that were diagnosed but she felt were “under-diagnosed.”

The judge also praised Vivarais for seeking help while waiting for his day in court, doing “as much while you’ve been in custody on remand as anyone could have done to better yourself as a person,” such as literacy skills training and counselling.

When it was his chance to address the court, Vivarais said: “I just wanted to apologize for wasting the court’s time for my misbehaviour and so-forth.”

Some family members were in the courtroom for the sentencing, people Kinsella said he would need to rely on when he finishes his sentence and is back in society.

In addition to the prison sentence, Vivarais has a lifetime weapons ban, he has to submit a DNA sample and has a no-contact order with Richardson. He also has to pay $400 to the court for victim fine surcharges.