December 11, 2013 Sections
Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION
A St. Vital man was sent to prison this afternoon for attacking another man at a 2010 Halloween social, putting him in a coma.
Leigh James Bryant, 25, was given a two-year prison sentence for an unprovoked attack – described as a "sucker punch" -- on a then-28-year-old man at an Oct. 30, 2010 social at the Travelodge on Alpine Place.
Bryant had pleaded guilty to aggravated assault in March.
Defence counsel Eric Wach said a two-year sentence was appropriate; while Crown prosecutor Scott Cooper recommended a three-year sentence, adding two years isn’t long enough for the offence.
Justice Albert Clearwater imposed a two-year sentence.
"I’m not certain any sentence I impose will deter the next drunk," who attacks another person, Clearwater said.
Court was told that Bryant did not know the victim but at some point in the evening, Bryant was carrying a tray of drinks back to his friends when someone bumped into him and knocked the drinks to the floor.
The victim was standing nearby with his own friends and laughing at an unrelated matter. Bryant thought the victim had knocked over the drinks and, without warning, punched the victim twice in the face.
Cooper said the first punch likely knocked out the victim and Bryant struck him a second time in the face just before he fell back and hit his head on a set of steps.
Bryant fled in shock but turned himself in to police in December. He was in custody for five days but made bail and had been free until his sentencing today.
Cooper said the victim suffered a brain injury and was in a coma for five days and later received speech and occupational therapy.
The victim, who is a project manager in the environmental services industry, was unable to work for three months because of the injuries, Cooper said, adding that the man is still undergoing speech therapy.
Wach said Bryant had been on bail for two years and seven months, worked full time in construction during that time and never violated bail conditions, including a nightly curfew.