FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – A Prophet River man will serve an additional 14 days in jail for repeatedly assaulting his former partner.

Gary Brandon Reno, 27, pleaded guilty to assault, attempting to coerce the victim to recant their statement to police, and breaching no-contact orders with the victim. 

He was sentenced Tuesday to 12 months of jail, three years of probation and a five-year firearms ban. But with time served, only 14 days of jail time remain on Reno’s sentence.

On January 5th, 2022, Reno struck his partner with a baton as part of the coercion attempts, court heard. 

The abuse started earlier than that, with Reno assaulting them in Prince George on August 31st, 2021, which was reported to RCMP on Sept. 15th. Reno was arrested on Sept. 16th and held in custody for five days before being released with a no-contact order. 

During the 2021 assault, it’s alleged Reno choked the victim with both hands, punched them in the face, and attempted to smother them with a pillow, court heard. 

The victim tried to escape the relationship and fled to Nanaimo, but they were soon found by Reno, who convinced them to return with him to Fort St. John. 

During an argument in October 2021, it’s alleged Reno slammed the victim’s head repeatedly in the dashboard of a vehicle until they passed out. 

However, a police statement on the incident wasn’t provided to RCMP by the victim until Jan. 5th, 2022. 

Reno is no stranger to being on the wrong side of the law, with four prior assault convictions, two robbery convictions, and several breaches of probation, court heard.  

A member of Prophet River First Nation, the court explained that Reno had a traumatic upbringing, raised by survivors of the residential school system. Reno was beaten as a child, experiencing extreme intimate violence and drug abuse within his own family.  

Appearing by video, Reno expressed remorse during the proceedings and explained that drug addiction and PTSD fuelled his behaviour. Another no-contact order was imposed to protect the victim, though Reno asked Justice Daniel Weatherly if it would be possible to send an apology letter to them.

“I just wanted to say that I’m extremely sorry for everything I did,” said Reno. “During the time that I’ve been in, I’ve been reflecting on my life and I don’t ever want to be like my father again, I recognize the wrongs I did.”  

Justice Weatherly said he felt Reno’s remorse was genuine. 

“Your guilty pleas speak volumes and I understand what you’re saying,” he said.  

Tom Summer, Alaska Highway News

Tom Summer is a Peace Region journalist and has been covering the courts and more in the pages of the Alaska Highway News and Dawson Creek Mirror since 2016. Born and raised in Hudson's Hope, he's also one of the first reporters to take part in the Local Journalism Initiative, delivering news to communities in Northeast BC. Funding is available to eligible Canadian media organizations to hire journalists or pay freelance journalists to produce civic journalism for The content produced...