B.C.’s Court of Appeal in Vancouver. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)

Judges dismiss appeal of Surrey teen who rioted in jail and stomped on someone’s head

Court of Appeal heard 17-year-old boy, who cannot be named, fantasized about being a serial killer

A young offender who stomped on a person’s head and participated in a six-hour riot that resulted in more than $150,000 in property damage at a youth corrections centre has lost an appeal of his 16-month custody and supervision order.

The sentencing judge had heard from Dr. Stefanelli, a psychiatrist who determined the young offender clearly suffers from a serious psychiatric disorder, “most likely schizophrenia,” and will require “close monitoring within the community.”

Stefanelli’s report indicates the youth “developed fantasies about hurting and killing others. For a period of time, he had fantasies of being a serial killer. He liked the idea of terrorizing a community.”

The offender, who was 17 at the time, was one of five inmates who rioted on July 19, 2016 at the Burnaby Youth Corrections Centre (BYCC). The Youth Criminal Justice Act shields the identity of the young man, whose family lives in Surrey.

The Court of Appeal upheld a provincial court judge’s decision to sentence the young offender, identified only as I.Z.N., to a 12-month CSO for his role in the riot, with six month’s concurrent for mischief related to the property damage and four months consecutive for assault causing bodily harm. The sentencing judge gave him eight months’ credit for time served, reducing his global sentence to eight months. He was also sentenced to one year’s probation, a two-year weapons prohibition and was ordered to provide a DNA sample.

Justice Mary Newbury, in her reasons for judgment, concluded that “the fact that the offences took place in the context they did makes it inappropriate, in my respectful view, to extend any particular ‘break’ to this offender.” Justices Peter Willcock and Susan Griffin concurred.

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The youth had pleaded guilty to the three charges. The court heard he did not participate in the July 19, 2016 riot to the extent of others, but has a record for violence and was considered a high risk for recidivism.

“It is to be hoped that with medications and continued supervision he will manage to control his psychotic and violent episodes,” Newbury said. “From Dr. Stefanelli’s report it may be inferred that the realization he might attract significant custody on re-offending is an important factor in deterring I.Z.N. from further misconduct.”

An office and living units were destroyed during the riot, and a fire was started in one of the units. The court heard this particular youth did not participate in the arson and the sentencing judge noted “his involvement in the riot was at the lower end.”

Then on Sept. 14, 2016, he and three other inmates swarmed another youth and an individual identified as “Mr. G,” who suffered traumatic brain injury and parenchymal bleed, multiple contusions with a periorbital hematoma, a nasal fracture and lacerations to his scalp.

Much of the riot and assault was caught on camera, Newbury noted. After Mr. G fell to the floor, the youth was observed kicking or stomping Mr. G “in the area of his head.”

The youth already had a court history for robbery and assault. The appeal court also heard he was involved in another violent attack at BYCC in March 2017, having taken a running leap and landing with his two feet on the head of someone who was on the ground.

He is eligible for Special Federal Funding (SFF) up to $50,000 per year “to support his rehabilitation,” the provincial court judge noted at sentencing. The judge also noted the offender wants to continue working with a roofing company, his mother confirmed he could attend day classes at Invergarry Adult Learning in Surrey, and that the offender “expressed an interest in martial arts and his grandmother located a martial arts program in Surrey which teaches respect, patience and confidence called Team Bad Boy Outreach which would be available to him.”



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

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