06/19/2014 09:38 EDT | Updated 08/19/2014 05:59 EDT

Judge blames smoking cessation drug for soldier's violent behaviour

WINNIPEG - A Manitoba judge says there is strong evidence the smoking cessation drug Champix was behind an assault by a Canadian soldier.

Canadian Forces member Malcolm Gallant, 30, pleaded guilty earlier this year to assault and careless use of a firearm.

The charges stem from 2011 when he choked his girlfriend and took guns to their neighbours’ house.

During Gallant’s sentencing hearing this week, Justice Shawn Greenberg said this behaviour was extremely out of character.

She also referred to studies showing Champix is associated with aggression and violence toward others, as well as letters of support from his girlfriend and colleagues.

Greenberg gave Gallant a conditional discharge, which means if he obeys the rules of his release for one year he will no longer have a criminal record.