Thursday April 17, 2014

Teen gets probation for machete attack

Victim left with brain injury

A B.C. Supreme Court justice declined to levy anything more than supervised probation for a young offender who attacked an acquaintance with a machete, leaving him brain injured.

In her sentencing decision Thursday, Justice Hope Hyslop said the teen has shown remorse, taken steps toward rehabilitation and has not been in trouble since the incidents in April 2011. She also declined to order his DNA be entered into a national registry of offenders, calling it a “grave intrusion into a young person’s personal privacy.”

The youth, who was 15 at the time he committed the assault and aggravated assault, cannot be named under provisions in the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

The first assault occurred when he goaded another young man into a fight at the NorKam secondary school yard after hours, threatening that his girlfriend would beat his acquaintance’s girlfriend if he didn’t show up.

Hyslop said at the time, the youth “thought of himself as a gangster.”

The other young man didn’t defend himself and ended up with a black eye. The young offender pleaded guilty to assault for that attack.

Twelve days later, the young offender was sucker-punched by a different young man, about 20 years old. The offender was invited to a party the next day, where he showed up with a machete.

The teen confronted his tormentor outside the house but was chased by a group in North Kamloops. When he stopped, he swung the machete, hitting the man who had punched him the day before in the head. The attack left his victim brain-injured.

The teen later wrote a text saying he would “finish him off.”

The two victims would not co-operate with police. The youth spent three months in custody after the attacks.

Crown lawyer Jenny Reid asked for deferred custody along with a two-year probation order. Under deferred custody, young offenders are placed in jail if they don’t abide by court-ordered conditions.

Instead, Hyslop sentenced the youth to 18 months probation, eight months of it with an evening curfew. He will be supervised by a youth worker, despite the fact he will be an adult for some of the period.

The First Nations youth grew up in a dysfunctional home in which his parents were violent alcoholics. He has been diagnosed with some impairment by fetal alcohol syndrome and has attended more than a dozen schools in Williams Lake and Kamloops.

A pre-sentence report said he is impressionable and has a low intellect.

He has now returned to the Cariboo, where he is attending school.

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