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Beating of ill woman nets three-year jail term

The ugliness that resides in Kelowna’s underworld was spotlighted during a Wednesday morning sentencing in B.C. Supreme Court.

In a case that Justice Al Betton deemed “yet another example of the horrors of drug use,” James Miklik was sentenced to two years in prison, on top of 374 days he’d already spent behind bars.

Miklik, 37, pleaded guilty to an aggravated assault charge from 2013, and the sentence he was handed positively reflected that admission.

Especially because his victim, a 52-year-old woman, had no recollection of the incident.

She had moved into Miklik’s basement with her boyfriend a week before the June 2013 altercation that left her without memory of the confrontation, her spleen or sight in her left eye. Those injuries were on top of a brain injury and multiple face and rib fractures.

According to Crown counsel Murray Kaay, the woman was supposed to procure some heroin for Miklik. He felt she had “shorted” him in the area of $50 to $60, and confronted her about the matter.

Although no witnesses were in the room when the confrontation turned violent, the woman’s boyfriend saw the aftermath.

Kaay told the court the boyfriend had walked into their bedroom and found her bloodied, on the floor, while Miklik stood above her.

Miklik fled the house at that point, and as police canvassed the area they interviewed neighbours he’d spoken with as they went.

“He (told them) he hit a female crackhead who had stolen from him,” Kaay told the court.

“‘A thief is a thief,’” Kaay said Miklik had told a neighbour, “‘it doesn’t matter if you’re a guy or a girl, everyone gets treated the same.’”

Miklik was arrested that same night and treated later that night for what’s considered a boxing injury. He’s contended all along that he punched the woman four times, and was shocked by the nature of her injuries.

The damage wrought could be in part to the frail condition the woman was in when the beating was rendered.

She suffered from hepeitits C, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus and was an IV drug addict.

Defence lawyer Michael Kennedy said while the victim was in no way responsible for the beating she suffered, her presence in Miklik’s life was evidence of a larger problem facing his client.

Miklik’s drug abuse, which Kennedy said was related to a painful condition called pancreatitis, had all but destroyed his life.

His victim and her boyfriend moving into the basement was evidence of that. They were homeless drug addicts, Miklik had moved in to help offset the mounting debts he was facing.

It was an ill conceived plan, noted the lawyer upon questioning from Justice Betton.

It’s ultimately cost him his home, his family and years of his life.

The sentence handed to Miklik will put him in federal prison. It’s a result he’d requested, instead of the provincial system.

In the federal system he’ll be able to access the programming that will aid him in a battle for longterm sobriety.

kmichaels@kelownacapnews.com

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