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Unprovoked assault by career criminal gets federal time

A Penticton man was sentenced to three years plus time served for a vicious, unporvoked attack on another man last March.
September 24, 2015 - 3:35 PM

PENTICTON - A Penticton man will do some serious jail time for a vicious, unprovoked attack that left his victim scarred for life.

John Marshall Szanto, who appeared in Penticton Provincial Court today, Sept. 24, will serve three years for the assault, which took place on March 14 this year.

Crown Prosecutor John Swanson recounted the incident, telling court a group of people who was drinking the day of the incident at a home on Van Horne Street in Penticton. Szanto arrived at the get-together later in the evening when he “mistook" a look from the victim, followed the man into the backyard of the residence and slammed a ceramic coffee cop into the left side of his face. He then punched the victim in the head prior to driving away in a grey-coloured van.

Swanson said police were called and the victim was transported to hospital where he received multiple stitches.

Defence Lawyer Robert Maxwell told court Szanto, a 33-year-old married father of three children, was drinking the day of the incident and had a 15-year friendship with the owner of the home where the incident occurred. He showed up at the gathering in a paranoid state after smoking some unspecified drugs, and thought the victim was giving him a “look of displeasure.” He said in Szanto’s drug-induced state, he didn’t know he was still holding the coffee cup when he punched the victim.

Both counsel made a joint submission to Judge Meg Shaw, recommending three years in addition to time already served. It was also revealed Szanto committed the crime while out on bail on kidnapping charges stemming from a May 20 incident involving the kidnapping and beating of a Penticton man later found in a ditch off Green Mountain Road.

Swanson said he could define no mitigating circumstances for the crime, calling it “a blatant attack on an unsuspecting individual.”

“Three years is warranted,” said Maxwell, adding his client takes responsibility for his actions.

Judge Shaw noted Szanto’s extensive criminal record between 2002 and 2010, with other current outstanding charges. She said the victims' impact statement described feelings of  being hyper-vigilant in public, fearing a random attack, as well as having to bear a scar on his face he feels impedes his ability to find work.

She sentenced Szanto to a further three years in prison on top of time served.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad at or call 250-488-3065. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015
InfoTel News Ltd

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