August 16, 2013 - 3:22 PM
A COWARDLY AND VICIOUS ATTACK
KAMLOOPS - A Niskonlith man was given a 'low-end' prison sentence today for an attack and robbery of an elderly Kamloops taxi driver last year.
Anthony Sauls was sentenced to 32 months in jail today in B.C. Supreme Court, a sentence justice Lauri Ann Fenlon said could have been higher.
Sauls was found guilty of robbery and breach of recognizance in May after the incident last September.
A senior Kamloops Yellow Cab taxi driver picked up a Sauls and his girlfriend at the time from the Valleyview Domino's pizza in Kamloops looking for a ride to the Niskonlith reserve. Around 11 p.m. on Sept. 26, the driver of the taxi, 67-year-old Ken Cotter, picked up the pair and when he dropped them off, he was robbed and assaulted, having his head smashed into the wheel and about $200 stolen. A police officer who arrived on scene described the lump on Cotter's head as the biggest he'd ever seen. Cotter also relies on an oxygen breathing apparatus.
Fenlon called his crime a 'cowardly and vicious attack on a vulnerable victim' but considered rehabilitation and the man's aboriginal heritage, having come from a family that suffered in residential schools, as significant factors in the case. Fenlon said Sauls' support and willingness to try a new method — one with roots to his heritage — may have kept him out of jail for longer.
The Crown sought three to five years in prison and said Sauls' crimes could have put him in jail for life after the state he left Cotter in last year. Sauls has more than 60 offences on his record. The defence argued for 18 months.
Fenlon called this time in Sauls' life 'now or never.'
"The sentence that I have imposed reflects in a significant way the courts hope in you, and in your pledge to try and do things differently this time," she said. "Mr. Sauls, you have to save yourself now."
Sauls' mother, Karen R. August, was grateful for the court decision outside the courtroom, telling InfoTel News she was happy the courts put faith in her son.
"It's good people are giving second chances," she said.
August testified during sentencing about the 'Red Path' — a traditional aboriginal method to stay clean — that has kept her sober for 10 years, something she wants for her son.
Sauls will serve 17.5 in jail as 'new time'. He has served 10.5 months already. He will face two years probation following his prison sentence, has been ordered to stay away from Cotter and will take an alcohol-abuse program at Round-Lake Treatment Centre in Vernon or a program similar.
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—This story was updated 4:50 p.m., August 16, 2013 to include the sentencing
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013