A youth charged with blindsiding a 46-year-old man with a longboard smash to the back of the head — leaving him in a coma — has been charged with more offences while on bail.
But the 15-year-old, who cannot be named due to provisions under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, was released from custody Tuesday following a bail hearing in front of provincial court Judge Chris Cleaveley.
“I’m satisfied (the teen) has made out a case for his release,” Cleavely said during the hearing. “I’m satisfied controls can be placed so the community is safe.”
The youth will go back to the care of social workers in a Sooke home where he is the only resident other than staff. He was jailed late last month.
The teen has no criminal record. But the Crown, based on video evidence taken at 7-Eleven store in Brocklehurst, alleges he smashed Michael Forry on the back of the head after Forry looked away. The incident occurred March 24.
According to police at the time, one of the people in a vehicle believed that someone in a group of pedestrians had struck the vehicle with an object as it passed by. The SUV then pulled into the store parking lot and Forry got out to speak with the teens.
A verbal altercation turned violent.
“(The youth) is allegedly face-to-face with the complainant — six to seven feet away — the video discloses,” prosecutor Frank Caputo said.
When Forry looked away to a bystander, the youth “takes a couple of steps and hits him flush with the skateboard.”
The wheels of the large board struck Forry, a trauma that landed him in a coma in hospital for more than two months.
Caputo told judge Cleaveley that six days following that incident the teen threatened to strike a bylaws officer with a longboard after she ordered him off the street where he was busking with a guitar.
The next day, RCMP were dispatched to the group home where the teen was residing after he broke a window and pried open a cabinet in order to grab a knife. The incident occurred after an argument with another group home resident over cigarettes.
Caputo said on July 24, the teen was accompanied by two staff members to a Victoria music store. When he couldn’t find what he wanted, he grew angry and also threatened to smash staff members with a longboard.
Caputo said the repeated incidents show a record of instability, particularly threats to use a longboard in a violent way. The prosecutor argued unsuccessfully to revoke bail.
Defence lawyer Tom Weiss said the teen will plead guilty to the three incidents following the longboard attack, but will plead not guilty to the first, most violent offence.
“What is clear from his tragic incident (longboard striking) is this young man is in defensive mode,” Weiss said.
A court-ordered psychiatric report found the teen, who turns 16 in November, has post-traumatic stress disorder, Asperger syndrome and Tourette syndrome. He was sexually abused as a child and been in long-term care of the Ministry of Children and Family Development.
Weiss presented letters at the hearing from social workers and others showing the youth has recently been co-operative and stable.
No date has been set for the trial.