Hike sentence

Man from violent country deserves sentence break for stabbing in Kitchener, lawyer tells judge

KITCHENER — An El Salvador native who stabbed a teenager in the back in Kitchener last year deserves a break from his sentence because he grew up in a violent country, his attorney has said.

“He comes from a country where violence is the norm and conflict is dealt with violently, and that’s what he did in this case,” Patricia King said in court in Kitchener earlier this month. .

“It lessens accountability because it’s the behavior he learned from his past.”

After a verbal argument with a teenager he knew, the man, then 19, stabbed him in the back as he walked away. The victim, also 19, was unarmed. He needed 25 stitches.

The attack happened on the night of March 6, 2021 in the Ralgreen Crescent and Overlea Drive area of ​​Kitchener. After a trial, the Cambridge man was found guilty of aggravated assault and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose. The knife was not found.

Superior Court Judge Gerry Taylor questioned King’s argument that the man has reduced liability because he grew up in El Salvador, which at one time was one of the most dangerous in the world.

“Isn’t it an extremely dangerous course to follow, for a court in Canada to justify the use of violence to settle a verbal argument because that’s what the defendant learned in his home country? and therefore it is appropriate conduct in Canada?” he said.

King: “I’m not saying that, your honor. It’s not appropriate at all. »

Judge: “I think that’s what you’re saying.

King: “I say it diminishes his responsibility.”

Judge: “So a person born in Canada who stabs someone in the back while walking away from a verbal altercation would deserve special punishment, but a person who does the exact same thing who was born and passed years of childhood in a country where violence was the norm deserve less punishment? That’s what you say, isn’t it?

King: “It’s learned behavior, your honor. That’s what he learned, that’s what he knew, and that’s why he did what he did.

The attacker, who immigrated to Canada in 2017 and is a permanent resident, will likely be deported.

He fears returning to violent El Salvador, King said. Gang-related killings have increased, especially in big cities like San Salvador, where he would likely live if deported, she said.

“Isn’t there something ironic about a man being convicted of hurting someone, stabbing someone in the back, raising the issue that ‘I don’t want not live in a violent society “?” said the judge.

“He’s lived a lot of that in his life, your honor,” King said. “I don’t think anyone wouldn’t want to stay in Canada if they were to go back.”

When the man was a young teenager, gang members tried to stab him as he waited for a bus, his mother said.

The man has no history. He hopes to become a dentist.

“He has a supportive family,” Judge said. “He aspires to continue his education and become an active member of society.”

King requested two consecutive sentences of six months less a day. The sentence would likely give his client the right to appeal the eviction.

Crown prosecutor Erin Jamieson asked for a sentence of 24 to 30 months.

“The victim was pushed back and was retreating when she was stabbed,” she said, adding that the attack was inexplicable.

The judge decided on 18 months in prison

“This was a vicious, unprovoked attack on an unarmed victim,” he said.

“The community has the right to expect that this type of behavior with the results that flow from it will not be accepted. The message should be sent to (him) and others like him that resolving verbal conflicts with a knife will not be tolerated.