Restitution sends message

Kamloops Daily News
January 18, 2013 01:00 AM

A hearing underway in provincial court provides an important lesson about the true costs of crime. Hopefully people - especially young adults perhaps more prone to rash acts - will heed the message and act accordingly.

Colton De Frias, a 21-year-old hockey player in Kamloops, is being sentenced for punching a man during a street fight.

Seldom do we think much about this kind of street violence, in part because the popular media we consume minimizes this kind of incident. How often do we see in shows or movies these kinds of fights? Two men square off, duke it out, and walk away unscathed.

In this case, however, the victim suffered serious facial injury and lost some teeth. He was forced to take time away from work, which also cost him money. More importantly, the victim will be required to undergo extensive dental reconstruction in the future.

The Crown asked a judge to impose a restitution order of more than $29,000 to compensate the victim for damages already paid, as well as future costs not yet incurred.

A judge will decide soon if the order should be imposed but even if he is not required to pay the whole amount, he will be made to pay some portion of it.

This case highlights the true cost of crimes like this. Fights between individuals in bars or on the street - especially young men - might seem minor. They are no, and always carry the possibility of lasting consequences for one or both parties.

In this instance, one young man faces months of painful dental reconstruction while another faces the prospect of starting adulthood saddled by a significant debt. Both are paying a needless price for an alcohol-fuelled moment of stupidity on a Kamloops street, one that could have been avoided with just a little restraint.

Sentence hearings in court are about sending messages, as well as setting circumstances right. We hope this message sinks in and those who are inclined to dismiss fighting as nothing serious will see they run the risk of facing significant consequences for their actions.

© Copyright 2015 Kamloops Daily News

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