A Williams Lake man who pled guilty to charges stemming from a New Year’s Day assault and attempted robbery in which a single parent was stabbed while at a local convenience store to pick up a jug of milk for his daughter won’t be sentenced until Tuesday.
Crown Counsel Julie Dufour and Defense Counsel Bill Herdy delivered submissions as Blake Johnny dressed in an orange prison jumpsuit sat before the Judge’s Bench in Williams Lake Supreme Court Tuesday morning.
Dufour is recommending a 4-year jail sentence to be served concurrently for each of the two counts and a lifetime firearms ban.
RCMP were called to the Comer Station Convenience Store at 8:23 pm Jan. 1, 2018 and said a man had left the store and was getting in his vehicle when he was approached by two males one of which demanded the keys to the man’s vehicle.
A struggle ensued between the victim and one of the suspects who produced an edged weapon and injured the victim. The suspect followed the victim back into the store and tripped him before fleeing on foot.
“I don’t trust anyone now.”
Victim Service caseworker Kristina Moller read the impact statement from the victim who was not in attendance. He is a single parent to a 14-year-old daughter who he went to pick up milk for, but instead required emergency abdominal surgery that resulted in a one-week hospital stay.
“I was having nightmares about gangs, and the painkillers were causing really bad dreams as well,” Moller read.
“I would dream that the gangs were across the street and wanting me to come over, and I didn’t want to and I couldn’t escape.”
The victim said he would sometimes walk to the bus stop to catch the bus to go to work, but now instead drives to the bus stop as he doesn’t feel safe.
“My daughter has been down and out over this. A lot of times I couldn’t get off the couch as I was laying down and trying to heal and she would have to help me up. My daughter told me that she thought I should go to counseling because I was always worried about something, but I just tell her that I’m too busy, I have to rest, and keep the house going.”
“People have asked when I want to buy a house as I have been working here in Williams Lake for a long time and I tell them that I don’t feel safe living in town so I don’t want to live here. I will find the time to search soon, but it’s hard when you’re a single dad. I want to move before next summer to help my daughter-it will help give us a new start.”
Representing Johnny since October 2008, Defense Counsel Bill Herdy argued that a 2-year prison sentence was appropriate and said Johnny has been doing constructive things since being incarcerated at the Prince George Remand Centre.
“Mr. Johnny’s intention is to better himself and further his education,” Herdy said noting that Johnny is prepared to engage in counseling and is interested in further engaging in cultural related activities and events.
Johnny grew up at Tl’etinqox (Anaham) that Herdy said has frequent drug and alcohol abuse, and violence within the community. Developing a good relationship with his maternal grandmother, Johnny and his family moved to Williams Lake after their home burned down.
Called a ‘wanderer’ with limited structure in life and not attending school, Herdy said Johnny got involved in drugs at the age of 9 and alcohol at the age of 13.
“It doesn’t appear that Williams Lake is a good place for Johnny, however, there is no other place that is suggested that would be any better for him,” Herdy said.
“So that’s something he will have to work out in the future.”
Dufour said the large presence by members of the Williams Lake RCMP in the gallery was to stand not in solidarity of any particular issue, but out of interest to see how their hard works pans out in serving the community.
“Mr. Johnny’s guilty plea and accountability for that is recognized by the justice system, by the members, and by the community as the first step for rehabilitation and some promise that he will not engage in this behavior again.”
Madam Justice Church said she will reserve her decision in sentencing Johnny until Tuesday.