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Man gets 11 months for assaulting wife

Fifth time convicted of same offence

Andrew Raven
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Aug 27/03) - A 33-year-old man has been sentenced to 11 months in jail for assaulting his wife twice within a five-week span.

Alexander Betsina pleaded guilty to two counts of assault and two counts of breach of probation after he hit his wife on June 6 and again on Aug. 12.

The convictions were Betsina's 11th and 12th for a violent offence.

He also had three previous convictions for assaulting his wife. The couple have a 10-year-old daughter.

"(Your wife) should be looking to you for help, not abuse," said Chief Judge Robert Halifax who presided over the case.

Betsina's lawyer, Kelly Payne, said her client suffers from severe alcoholism, which causes him to be abusive.

"It's a demon on his back."

But Halifax said Betsina's alcoholism was not an excuse for violent behaviour.

"It seems like every person on trial...tries to look like a victim," he said.

"You can't hide behind alcoholism and use it as a crutch."