Something had to be said, says attack victim

With hindsight, John Leahy realizes biting his tongue might have saved him a beating.

But the Kamloops teacher and father wasn't prepared to let offensive insults directed at his teenage daughter go unchallenged. He wasn't looking for a fight, but just wanted to let the two men know they should keep their mouths shut.

Leahy was waiting with his family outside The Loft in the 200-block Victoria street Oct. 2 when the men walked by and commented rudely about how his daughter was dressed.

They turned suddenly when Leahy spoke up and within seconds, the man found himself under the fists and feet of the passing pair, and nipped by their dogs.

"It was one of those things, if I had been in a different mood, it wouldn't have happened. But they made a comment to my daughter.

"I said, 'Hold on, why don't you say that to the girl's father,'" he said. "They made a beeline straight for me."

One of Leahy's attackers pleaded guilty in provinicial court in Kamloops Thursday, after being arrested in Salmon Arm about a week ago.

Allen Cardinal, 25, is charged with assault causing bodily harm. Prosecutor Don Mann asked the court to jail Cardinal six to 12 months, saying such an unprovoked attack requires a deterrent sentence.

"People need to be able to wander the downtown without fearing the threat of an unprovoked attack," said Mann.

Leahy was left with cuts and bruises, bleeding from his ear. His head had been smashed backward into a glass door.

"They proceeded to swarm him, striking him several times in the head," Mann told the judge.

The attack had serious impact on the victim, the prosecutor noted. Leahy suffered physically and psychologically as a result of the attack.

Judge Stephen Harrison ordered a presentence report, saying he wants to know more about Allen's background before sentencing the man. The report is expected to be finished in six weeks. Cardinal will stay in jail until then.

Leahy told The Daily News he hopes Cardinal gets some help and learns a lesson about respecting others.

"I'd rather he got some counselling or something. He felt it was his place to put down ordinary people. As far as I'm concerned he doesn't have a leg to stand on."

Leahy said all he wanted to do was make the fellow accountable for what he said.

"If I had listened to my wife's words and not said anything, it might not have happened. But my thinking was, hold on, who are these people? They are not even old enough to have kids or a job, or pay taxes, or do everything else a normal person in society is going to do. They were not going to get away with it.

"I thought about it later, if I had listened to my wife, it wouldn't have happened . . . but it was the first time I was there when my daughter was insulted."

A warrant remains outstanding for Cardinal's co-accused.

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