A college student has been jailed for 18 months for gouging an acquaintance’s face with a beer bottle during a dispute that ended up in Lake Ontario.

Tomasz Sejbuk, 25, and Erwin Lodewyk were drinking beer by the lake near Jameson Ave. in Parkdale around 9 p.m. on Sept. 20, 2010 when they got into an argument, court heard.

The dispute turned physical and Sejbuk struck Lodewyk, then 44, with a broken bottle, severely damaging his orbital bone and causing several other “very disturbing” injuries to his head and body, Ontario Superior Justice Gary Trotter said Monday.

“It could have been much worse, even fatal,” Trotter said.

According to a police news release at the time, both men fell in the lake and Sejbuk tried to drown the victim.

However, outside court, defence lawyer Ian Kilgour said that was not proven and his client denies that allegation.

The alleged attempted drowning was not in the agreed facts and the Crown withdrew an attempted murder charge against Sejbuk. He pleaded guilty to aggravated assault in September.

“I’m sorry for what I did,” Sejbuk told the judge in a low voice Monday, while also suggesting he acted in self-defence.

Sejbuk suffers from paranoid schizophrenia and has a lengthy criminal record. But in 2007 he began making efforts to turn his life around and he resumed his education, Trotter said.

He has been seeing a psychiatrist, who says he suffers from delusions and hallucinations.

Kilgour asked that his client be given an 18-month sentence. Crown prosecutor Rebecca Edward asked for two years less a day.

After the judge left the courtroom, the outraged victim, who had been sitting in court, said Sejbuk smiled and winked at him as he was being sentenced.

Kilgour said the assault is an example of how people with mental illness end up in conflict with the judicial system. Sejbuk will need treatment for the rest of his life to ensure he remains productive and free of delusions, the defence lawyer added.

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