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Man who sucker punched stranger jailed

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CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - A Cardigan man who was drunk and on mushrooms when he sucker punched a stranger he mistakenly thought had been in an altercation with a woman was sentenced recently to 14 days in jail.

Charles Daniel MacLellan, 22, appeared before Judge John Douglas in provincial court in Charlottetown for sentencing after previously pleading guilty to assault causing bodily harm.

The court heard that on Oct. 8, 2017, Charlottetown police responded to a call about a man who was lying on the ground unconscious near a Kent Street bar.

When the police arrived, paramedics were treating the victim who had injuries to his face.

The victim later told police he was crossing the street after leaving a bar on Kent Street when someone hit him once from behind and knocked him out.

No one knew it was MacLellan.

Crown attorney Nathan Beck told the court the victim needed surgery for a broken nose and cheek bone.

A victim impact statement listed other injuries, including a concussion, a chipped front tooth and a cut over his eye that needed four stitches and left a scar.

The court heard the victim also needs follow-up surgery for his septum.

While the police were responding to the assault, other officers were dealing with MacLellan at a different location and they were unaware at the time he was responsible for the punch.

Beck said officers saw MacLellan running away and screaming in a parking lot near Holland College.

MacLellan was hallucinating and screaming nonsensically, Beck said.

The police didn’t learn MacLellan was responsible until later when he approached one of the victim’s friends at a party to explain what happened.

MacLellan also later spoke to the victim to apologize and admit what he did.

Beck said the court has seen similar situations many times, and general deterrence is necessary.

“This type of thing happens far too often,” Beck said.

The Crown recommended time in custody.

Defence lawyer Thane MacEachern said his client thought the victim had been in an altercation with a female earlier in the night but later learned he wasn’t the right person.

MacLellan said, at the time, he thought he should have done something when he saw a man and woman fighting.

“I was in the wrong,” he told the court.

Before hearing his sentence, MacLellan addressed the court to say he hasn’t had alcohol or used drugs since the night of the assault.

Douglas said “one-punch” cases can be difficult, and he thought the message needed to be sent to the public that people who commit acts like MacLellan did end up in jail.

Along with the jail time, MacLellan will be on probation for one year and must pay $294 in restitution to the victim.

MacLellan must also provide a DNA sample for the national databank and will be under a weapons prohibition for two years.

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