Inmate gets another year for prison stabbing

'The victim did not instigate an altercation and had no opportunity to defend himself'

An inmate who stabbed another at KRCC will serve an additional year in prison.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Sheri Donegan ruled that adding another year to Derek Baptiste's current three-year sentence for four break-and-enter convictions, breach of recognizance and possession of a dangerous weapon "is not unduly long or harsh."

Without warning, Baptiste stabbed another inmate September last year.

That inmate, Brian Johnson, walked up to a table in the unit at KRCC and placed his foot on it so he could tie his shoe. That's when Baptiste put his arms around him, stabbing Johnson.

Correctional officers believed Baptiste flushed the jailhouse shank down a cell toilet immediately after the stabbing.

"The victim did not instigate an altercation and had no opportunity to defend himself," justice Donegan wrote in her decision released this week.

"Mr. Baptiste explained his conduct as a pre-emptive strike of sorts, arising out of his fear that some sort of bounty was placed on him."

Baptiste pleaded guilty to aggravated assault. The original charge was attempted murder but the Crown did not proceed because it could not prove he possessed the necessary mens rea, or guilty mind.

The 29-year-old Baptiste is a member of the Osoyoos Indian Band. He is illiterate and suffers from fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) and attention deficit hyperactive disorder.

He grew up in a dysfunctional household.

"Mr. Baptiste began consuming alcohol at the age of five. By age 10, he was a regular consumer of both alcohol and marijuana and began stealing to support these habits," Donegan wrote.

Defence lawyer Gurpreet Gill argued Baptiste's new one-year sentence should be served at the same time as his current sentence. Otherwise, she argued, Baptiste is in danger of being "warehoused" in jail.

The Crown argued Baptiste should serve another year in jail, saying a failure to add new jail time would send a message to other inmates.

Donegan said the additional one-year sentence requested by the Crown is fair, adding, "Mr. Baptiste could have been facing a much longer sentence."

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