Vernon judge demands answers to why 'good' man stabbed another | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Vernon judge demands answers to why 'good' man stabbed another

November 17, 2020 - 6:30 AM

A 29-year-old Vernon man who stabbed another man in the back of the leg during a fight won't do jail time and instead will spend 12 months under house arrest.

B.C. Provincial Court Judge Richard Hewson handed down the sentence today, Nov. 16, to Brian Eric Tran, 29, after asking on several occasions for an explanation as to why he did it.

"(Why) does a man with a good background, a supportive family, he's got good prospects in life... how does he end up taking a knife and stabbing another guy in the back of the leg?" Judge Hewson asked. "Does he always carry a knife?"

The case dates back to the summer of 2019, when Tran got into a fight with his then-girlfriend's sister's boyfriend.

The court heard how Tran believed the boyfriend was violently abusing his girlfriend's sister and arrived at the Vernon property late in the afternoon of June 15, 2019.

"A verbal altercation occurred and Mr. Tran punched (the boyfriend) who then fell to the ground after the punch," Crown prosecutor Brock Bellrichard told the court.

Tran then pulled out a knife and stabbed the boyfriend in the back of the leg, and then said, "get up, I dare you."

The victim then drove himself to hospital with a deep 13-centimetre laceration on his leg.

Tran was arrested sometime afterwards and charged with aggravated assault, assault with a weapon, assault causing bodily harm, and uttering threats. He pleaded guilty to one charge of assault causing bodily harm.

The court heard how Tran, born 1991, had no criminal record, a supportive family, and generally had regular employment.

The crown asked for six to eight months jail, followed by 12 months probation.

"(It) sends a message to the community this behaviour is not accepted," the prosecutor said.

The defence requested a conditional sentence order comprising of house arrest and reiterated his client's remorse, his lack of criminal record, and that Tran currently lived with his mother and, due to her health, cared for her.

Judge Hewson said the situation was unusual.

"I sit here every day and I deal with person after person after person who come from backgrounds that are as far removed from Mr. Tran's as you can imagine. They come from families with generations of alcoholism, they were abused as children, they were physically, sexually, emotionally (abused), whatever you can imagine, these people are suffering abuse, and they come into court and... the moral culpability of those people is reduced by the nature of their background," Judge Hewson said. "I'm struggling with a man who's got the complete opposite background, he's got a family that loves him, a family that supports him, all his material needs are addressed, when he needed a place to stay he went back and stayed at home... so how did he end up here?"

Judge Hewson asked the defence lawyer for an explanation of the crime, and specifically why Tran was carrying a knife.

The court stood down for 15 minutes so Tran's defence lawyer Cory Armour could get an answer from his client.

"At that time he'd actually started collecting knives, not for any sort of a violent purpose," Armour told the court. "So he had one in his pocket, he never had the intention to use it."

Judge Hewson said this as a "somewhat strange explanation."

The defence said Tran had since got rid of his knife collection and started collecting NBA jerseys.

"Mr. Tran's life circumstances make the circumstances of the offence somewhat difficult to comprehend," the judge said. "This is a case in which a sentence of incarceration could be entirely appropriate."

However, Hewson pointed to Tran's remorse, good behaviour while on bail, and the support of his family to help with rehabilitation as he handed down a sentence of house arrest.

"I'd like to apologize for all of this," Tran told the judge. "For everything I've done, causing all the problems in the family... I now know not to carry weapons with me, because they're bad news and I'll never carry a knife again with me, I just want you to know that I'm very sorry."

Tran was sentenced to 12 months house arrest and for the first six months has to remain at home 22 hours a day being allowed out between noon and 2 p.m. For the remaining six months he will be under a 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew.

The Crown stayed the remaining three charges.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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