A former British Columbia resident has finally been sentenced for a brutal assault he committed on a cab driver nearly 8 years ago.
This week 28-year-old Ryan Sherwood plead guilty to assault and mischief charges in Bracebridge court after the outstanding matters were transferred to this jurisdiction.
Crown Attorney Ted Carleton said the incidents began in Vancouver on the 12th of April 2008 at 3:49am, when Sherwood was a passenger in a Yellow taxi cab company vehicle.
Sherwood was in the front passenger seat after two other fares were dropped off and requested he be taken to a 4th Avenue location and then on to somewhere else.
After arriving there the driver told Sherwood he owed $20.15 and asked him how he was going to pay. Sherwood said by MasterCard, but the card was declined and he ended up giving the cabbie $7 in a mix of bills and change.
Still, the driver complied with Sherwood’s request to be taken to yet another location where it was again pointed out he’d underpaid by $13.
Court heard that Sherwood protested by saying he had paid the full $20.
The car was parked and it was at this point that Sherwood punched the driver between 10 and 15 times in the head.
An off-duty police officer was parked behind the cab at the time and witnessed the commotion in the vehicle. He immediately laid on the horn.
Court heard the driver fell out of the vehicle while Sherwood ran down West Broadway with the off duty officer giving chase.
Sherwood ended up outside a residence where he tried to open a parked car – the officer yelled, telling Sherwood to step away from the vehicle. Instead, Sherwood started to kick it.
A canine unit was called and within half an hour Sherwood was found behind the residence and arrested.
The cab driver victim was taken to hospital diagnosed with a headache – court heard he suffered abrasions and pain in his jaw and teeth.
There were also dents and scratches in the passenger side door panels of the cab – an estimated $2,500 in damage was done to the vehicle, which was a 1997 Volkswagen Golf.
Somehow the assault and mischief charges went unresolved in the court system until now.
Sherwood, who grew up in Owen Sound is currently serving a 3 and a half year sentence for break and enters and failing to comply with probation.
Defence Lawyer Tricia Cowie told court that the assault was committed by a then 20 year old man who has struggled with a serious cocaine addiction in his life.
Sherwood showed remorse for his actions and suggested the addiction was just taking hold around the time the assault happened.
“Punching someone in the head is never acceptable”
He told Judge Robert Gattrell:
“I was just a kid when this happened 8 yrs ago and my life was spinning out of control,” adding “Punching someone in the head is never acceptable.”
Carleton noted that cab drivers must be protected by the courts as they are a segment of society which is particularly vulnerable to these types of assaults.
Sherwood was handed a three month sentence for the assault, which is to start after his current sentence is up. On the mischief under $5,000 charge he was sentenced to one month, which is to be served concurrently.
He is also prohibited from owning a weapon for five years and must provide a sample of his DNA to authorities.