February 28, 2014 - 7:51 AM
KAMLOOPS - A 15-year-old Kamloops boy convicted of aggravated assault might avoid prison if psychiatric reports persuade a Kamloops judge to find him help instead of incarceration.
The young offender, who can't be named by law, is awaiting sentencing in Kamloops Provincial Court for charges stemming from a March 24 assault that left Michael Forry, 46, in a coma for several months.
The court was shown surveillance video from a convenience store that caught the assault. The youth wept as the video showed him striking Forry over the head with his longboard—a long skateboard.
Forry sustained serious head injuries requiring 49 screws and 52 staples to put his skull back together. It caused brain damage and he lost the ability to speak for a time. Almost a year later, Forry still struggles and has a speech impediment. He lost his job, his house, and his ability to provide for his family. Now living on the coast, Forry was in court yesterday to hear the youth apologize in court.
“I am sorry for what I did,” the offender said. “I deeply regret what happened.”
Crown prosecutor Frank Caputo suggested two months in a youth custodial facility and community supervision after.
Defence lawyer Tom Weiss told Judge Stephen Harrison is pushing for probation, saying the boy is truly remorseful before his client said the same thing.
Weiss told Harrison the boy had a dysfunctional background and was in need of psychological help. Since the offence, the youth has received mental health intervention and doctors note “a huge improvement in his behaviour.”
Weiss urged Harrison to consider allowing the youth to serve time under house arrest, where he can continue getting support.
“The longer he is in the therapeutic program, the less risk he is to society,” Weiss said, noting if he served time in prison, he would be forced to start from scratch.
Weiss said sending the youth to prison “isn’t going to teach him anything, it is only going to undermine the development made."
Weiss read psychiatric records which noted the attack was not 'predatory' in nature, nor was it pre-planned.
“I made a terrible mistake,” the offender said. “I am asking for mercy. I am learning the skills to never make this mistake again,” he said.
A decision is expected today.
To contact a reporter for this story, email Cavelle Layes at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 250-319-7494.
— with files from Canadian Press
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