Jordan Smith, walking with a partner in downtown Vancouver during September 2008, was confronted by five young men. This cowardly swarm shouted obscenities and insults and, without provocation or warning, Robert Singh Kandola sucker-punched Smith, leaving him on the ground, unconscious with serious facial injuries. Kandola and his companions also threatened to assault another man at the scene.
VPD Inspector John McKay said that, after intervening witnesses called police, the attackers fled but were located a block away where officers arrested Robert Kandola. After reviewing medical evidence, prosecutors charged him with aggravated assault.
Every one commits an aggravated assault who wounds, maims, disfigures or endangers the life of the complainant.
Seems straightforward doesn’t it? The unprovoked assault left a victim seriously wounded. Numerous witnesses identified the perpetrator who police had arrested nearby and the assault was captured on video. Zero extenuating circumstances meant lenient treatment of the criminal was not necessary or appropriate.
Parliament provided up to 14 years in prison for aggravated assault, a harsh response for a vicious act. So, why did Kandola leave court with a 17 month sentence and credit for five months served after revocation of bail because another crime was committed? Under Canadian rules, an offender can apply for temporary absences or day parole after serving 1/6 of the sentence and full parole after 1/3. Depending on the method of calculation, Kandola may be eligible to walk away from jail by the end of May, at worst, by summer.
Leaving aside the parole elements, what is happening here? The law provides for severe punishment; the police performed as expected. Yet, the offender, a man whose pre-sentence report would be chilling, walks away knowing he might be home soon. The 78 year-old environmental activist Betty Krawczyk was treated more severely for protests against logging.
This is British Columbia’s Criminal Justice Branch doing business. Justice is a minor consideration at the CJB. They issue lucrative special prosecutor appointments and allow files to drag on unresolved year after year. They provide police with free passes for homicide. They seldom approve charges of any sort against police officers and they’ll spend endlessly to protect themselves from accountability, as in the 1998 death of Frank Paul where they fought justice for 11+ years, hiding behind legalisms until the Supreme Court of Canada stripped those away in a 2010 decision.
In the CJB, protection of high profile defendants is routine and so are insults to victims of crimes. In the attack on Jordan Smith, the process should have been clear. Seriously injured, Smith didn’t only suffer a bump and bruise. His jaw was broken in multiple places, he was hospitalized and unable to eat solid food for weeks after surgery. The only likely reason for prosecutors to plea bargain down from the charge of aggravated assault was financial, a desire to save trial costs by accepting a guilty plea to a lesser charge. End the process, save cash.
I wish CJB had been as thrifty when they perverted and delayed the Davies Commission trying to examine the inhuman treatment of Frank Paul.
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