(Canadian OH&S News)
The perpetrator of a vicious 2011 beating of a co-worker in Bay Bulls, Newfoundland has been sentenced to four years in jail.
Judge David Orr of the Provincial Court of Newfoundland and Labrador filed the sentence against 38-year-old William Parker on Oct. 15. Parker repeatedly struck fellow employee Delbert Forbes and kicked him in the head while wearing a steel-toed work boot after a workplace disagreement on Oct. 3, 2011.
“The injuries to Mr. Forbes are catastrophic,” Judge Orr noted in the decision. “The nature of the harm caused is a factor to be considered on sentence, and generally where serious harm has resulted, an increased sentence will be imposed.”
The attack broke out after Forbes tried to warn Parker about the latter’s unsafe behaviour while Parker was showing Forbes how to load an excavator onto a float. Parker lost his temper and punched Forbes at least twice, causing him to fall to the ground, the decision noted. He then kicked Forbes in the head, struck him twice more and stepped on his arm.
After the beating, Parker pulled Forbes up to his feet and helped him walk over to his truck. Realizing that Forbes was unsteady, he called for an ambulance.
Judge Orr emphasized the severity of Forbes’ injuries as justification for the sentence. Forbes is now partially paralyzed due to a permanent brain injury; he also has a speech impediment and impaired cognition.
“The extent of his loss is starkly evident,” the judge wrote about Forbes. “Mr. Forbes has lost the ability to work at his chosen career, he has lost his ability to engage in leisure activities that he enjoyed [and] he has lost some of his communication skills.” Orr added that the changes in Forbes’ personality have permanently damaged his relationships with his family and friends.
Parker pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and his counsel lobbied for a prison sentence of between 18 and 22 months. The defence argued that the degree of Forbes’ injury had not been “foreseeable” by Parker, but Judge Orr disagreed, saying that Parker had been wearing a steel-toed boot while kicking his co-worker. The severity of the injuries and the “unprovoked nature of the assault” warrant a five-year sentence, Crown counsel argued.
Judge Orr agreed that the assault was unprovoked. “Mr. Forbes was acting out of concern for Mr. Parker’s safety and the safety of the workplace when he spoke to him,” the judge wrote. “There was no suggestion that there was any provocation from Mr. Forbes… nor is there any suggestion that Mr. Parker’s judgement was in any way clouded by impairment. It was clear that he acted out of anger.”