Vicious attack nets man 6 years
Armed with a baseball bat, Irvin Johnston went looking for the man he believed had assaulted his daughter.
The man wasn’t home when Johnston came knocking in July 2008. But his father was.
Johnston forced his way into the Mountain Avenue house and beat the man so viciously he later told family members “he’s probably dead.”
Johnston, 46, pleaded guilty to break and enter, and aggravated assault. He was sentenced Wednesday to six years in prison.
Johnston’s intended target was his daughter’s boyfriend, his grandchildren’s father.
The 52-year-old victim was taken to hospital suffering head injuries, a broken arm and shattered elbow. In a victim impact statement, the man said he “can’t do anything like I used to do” and now lives on disability.
“I don’t know why he did this to me,” he said. “I didn’t do anything to him.”
Crown attorney Melinda Murray said the victim was “minding his own business” and had no prior relationship with Johnston.
“This is vigilante justice ... and that cannot be tolerated in this society,” Murray said. “Violence begets violence.”
Johnston claimed he had been drinking and “didn’t mean to do what I did.”
Judge Ray Wyant said Johnston knew exactly what he was doing. The attack was “planned and premeditated ... and done with the intention of inflicting grievous bodily harm on anyone who got in your way.”
Johnston got double credit for time served, cutting his remaining sentence to 27 1/2 months.
Vigilante attack with baseball bat brings 6 year sentence
A Winnipeg man has been sentenced to six years in prison for an act of "vigilante justice" which ended up targetting the wrong victim.
Irvin Johnston, 46, pleaded guilty Wednesday to breaking, entering and aggravated assault for a July 2008 home invasion that left a 52-year-old man suffering extensive injuries and on permanent disability.
Crown attorney Melinda Murray said Johnston was upset because his daughter said she'd been physically abused by her common-law husband. Johnston grabbed an aluminum baseball bat and went looking for his son-in-law by bursting into his Mountain Avenue home.
The target of his rage wasn't home -- but the man's father, mother and two young children were. Johnston then set his sights on the father, hitting him at least 20 times in the head with the bat.
"This was revenge. He took matters into his own hands. This was vigilante justice which cannot be tolerated in our society," said Murray.
The victim suffered a shattered left forearm and fractured left elbow which required surgery and have left him with limited mobility and unable to work. He also had numerous cuts to his head and face, court was told.
"I don't know why he did this to me. I didn't do anything to him," the man said in a victim impact statement.
Johnston fled the home and actually bragged to other family members about what he'd done, telling one relative "you should see him, he's probably dead."
Johnston has an extensive criminal record dating back to the 1980s, including multiple convictions for violent acts. He apologized for his actions Wednesday, claiming he "didn't mean to" hurt the victim.
Provincial court Judge Ray Wyant scoffed at the remark, saying Johnston knew exactly what he was doing in a cold, calculated attack against an innocent man.
"What you did was a senseless, violent and frightening act," he said.
Johnston was originally charged with attempted murder, but the Crown reduced the charge in exchange for his guilty plea. He spent more than 22 months in pre-trial custody, for which he was given double-time credit on Wednesday. That leaves him with just over 27 months left on his sentence.
This man does pose some danger to the man for whom the attack was intended for. I feel 6 years is too harsh, but that he does require some form of incarceration, maybe between 2 and 3 years in a minimum security prison, such as Rockwood, where he could attend programming in the community during the day, such as anger management, violence prevention, problem solving skills and counseling and return to the institution in the evening and night.