6 months house arrest for neighbour attack
A Winnipeg man has been sentenced to six months house arrest following a racially charged assault against his neighbour.
Joseph Zielinski, 49, was convicted of one count of assault causing bodily harm following a trial earlier this year.
The Tuxedo resident was found guilty of attacking his then 73-year-old neighbour, neurologist Dr. Francis Dominique, following an argument in their adjoining backyards.
Court heard Zielinski jumped over a fence separating the yards and attacked Dominique from behind, knocking him to the ground. Zielinski grabbed Dominique by the groin, punched him several times in the chest, and called him "sand n....." The attack only ended when Dominique's wife Veyda ran to the house to call police.
Judge Michel Chartier rejected a defence recommendation Zielinski receive a conditional discharge. Chartier said the attack against a much younger, vulnerable victim demanded a custodial sentence, but agreed Zielinski could serve it in the community.
Dominique told court he continues to suffer back pain and difficulty with his leg following the attack. He said his wife now fears going into their backyard or being alone in their house.
"The consequences of (Zielinski's) actions are clear," Chartier said. "He has caused both physical and emotional distress to the victim."
At trial, Zielinski claimed Dominique fabricated the assault allegations because he didn't like him as a neighbour.
Zielinski offered no words of apology in court Wednesday.
Zielinski and Dominique remain neighbours.
Race-based attack on neighbour results in conditional sentence
A Winnipeg man convicted of a race-based attack on his elderly neighbours will be confined to his house for the next six months.
Joseph Zielinski, 49, was given a conditional sentence Wednesday, which includes a 24-hour curfew. There are a few exceptions, including being allowed to leave to perform 150 hours of court-ordered community service.
Zielinski had been seeking a discharge which would have spared him a criminal record. But provincial court Judge Michel Chartier said the disturbing 2007 crime called out for stiffer sanctions.
"The consequences of (Zielinski's) actions are clear. He has caused both physical and emotional distress to the victim," Chartier said.
Zielinski had fought the case at trial, claiming he was the victim of bogus allegations. But Chartier found his version of events "was void of reason or sense" in convicting him of last month of assault causing bodily harm.
Neurologist Dr. Francis Dominique, 73, and his wife, Vydha, 76, told court how Zielinski leaped over the fence separating their Tuxedo homes and launched into a violent rage.
The dispute that landed in court began when the Dominiques had large trees removed and branches and needles fell into Zielinski's yard. The couple -- who are originally from Trinidad -- say Zielinski grabbed a leaf blower and shot the debris back towards them. They say he pulled a similar stunt the previous winter by spraying snow into their yard. The Dominique's said Zielinski ignored their demands to stop and threatened them instead, hurling several racial slurs in the process.
Zielinski then entered their yard and jumped on Francis Dominique -- kneeing and punching him, court was told. His wife picked up a small stick and hit Zielinski but because of her limited mobility, which includes walking with a cane, she was unsuccessful in driving him off. She went back towards the house and called for help. Zielinski eventually got off her husband and returned to his yard.