Wednesday April 23, 2014

Jailhouse beating nets more time

A Penticton man was sentenced Monday to a year in jail for a vicious jailhouse beating that left his victim unconscious and bleeding.

Amos Atkins pleaded guilty to assault causing bodily harm for the attack at North Fraser Pretrial Centre. He was moved to Kamloops Regional Correctional Centre after the attack on July 30.

Crown lawyer Jenny Reid said video from the jail shows Atkins leaving his cell to go to the common area of the unit, where just one guard was on duty.

He approached the inmate from behind and "punched him in the jaw so hard he hit the ground," she said.

Once his victim hit the ground, Atkins continued stomping and punching him. While serious, the attack left no permanent damage but the victim did require hospitalization.

Reid said the two inmates had lived on the unit successfully for several months and had no bad history. Corrections officials speculated it was a dare or on instructions from other inmates.

Defence lawyer Don Campbell proffered no explanation for the beating. He said Atkins, a First Nations man, had a difficult upbringing in foster homes.

The 23-year-old has been drinking since he was 13 years old. He was sentenced as a youth for robbery, assault and kidnapping.

Judge Roy Dickey called the attack a "completely unprovoked assault."

The Crown asked for 15 months jail. Dickey sentenced Atkins to 12 months in prison. He is awaiting sentencing in February on a charge of theft of a motor vehicle.

Prosecutors are asking for 18 months jail for that offence.

Campbell said Atkins wants to attend a Kelowna recovery house after his release.

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