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P.E.I. man who sucker punched 78-year-old stranger jailed

PEI court
PEI court
CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. —

A P.E.I. man who said he was having a bad day when he sucker punched a 78-year-old stranger on the street was sentenced Friday to 22 months in jail on four charges.

John Tyson Boudreault, 23, appeared before Judge John Douglas in provincial court in Charlottetown for sentencing on charges of assault causing bodily harm, unlawful entry, resisting arrest and breaching his probation.

Boudreault was arrested in June and his case has been dragging on for months after the court sought a mental health assessment to determine if he was criminally responsible and fit to stand trial.

That order was met with delays that included missed court-imposed deadlines and one report that was deemed to be inadequate.

Eventually the court received a thorough report, which Crown attorney John Diamond referred to Friday as he provided some details of Boudreault’s account of what happened when he committed the offences.

The court heard Boudreault told the report writer he was having a bad day and the assault was a way for him to relieve stress.

“I wanted to beat the shit out of somebody,” Boudreault said.

Diamond told the court the first person Boudreault came across was the 78-year-old man who was carrying grocery bags.

Boudreault calmly walked up to the victim and punched him three times causing the man to fall to the ground where he hit him another three times.

The court heard Boudreault knew he knocked the man out and he didn’t want to get caught so he fled.

Boudreault’s attack caused injuries that included a brain bleed and a concussion that left the man needing physiotherapy.

Diamond said the next day, Boudreault got up after sleeping in a tent in the woods and wanted a shower. He went to a nearby home and entered it through an unlocked door.

Boudreault said hello and got in the shower after no one answered.

When one of the residents came home, he yelled for Boudreault to leave and after a verbal exchange gave him a towel.

Boudreault was arrested nearby by where he resisted the police and kicked one officer.

During an incident at the Provincial Correctional Centre, Boudreault punched a jail guard who was escorting him back to his cell after he threw a chair.

On Friday, defence lawyer Thane MacEachern said Boudreault had been diagnosed with undifferentiated schizophrenia.

Boudreault’s conduct was serious and it was of concern that he had some underlying issues that were unresolved, MacEachern said.

Wearing a red sweatshirt and ripped jeans, Boudreault sat at the defence table throughout the proceedings Friday, shaking as he listened to the submissions.

Before hearing his sentence, he addressed the court and said he apologized to the assault victim.

“I feel really terrible about it,” Boudreault said, adding that he shed a tear about it earlier.

Douglas said he agreed with defence submissions that Boudreault’s moral blameworthiness was diminished.

More important than the length of the sentence is getting Boudreault the help that he needs, Douglas said.

With the sentence, which was four months less than the Crown was seeking, Douglas gave Boudreault credit of 12 months for time spent in custody, leaving 10 months still to serve.

Boudreault will be on probation for three years after his release and will be subject to electronic monitoring if directed.

He must also provide a DNA sample for the national databank and a 10-year weapons prohibition.

Ryan.ross@theguardian.pe.ca
Twitter.com/ryanrross

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