Calgarian slashes throat of visually impaired senior, receives lesser sentence because ‘colonialism’

A Calgary judge sentenced 25-year-old Bobby Crane to serve two years in a provincial jail and three years' probation for slashing the throat of a senior at a CTrain station on May 18. But the accused will serve only 14 months in custody owing to previous time served.

Calgarian slashes throat of visually impaired senior, receives lesser sentence because ‘colonialism’
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Crown prosecutor Tara Wells sought a four-year sentence for Crane, who committed “a horrific act of random violence.”

Crane slashed the throat of 65-year-old Leonard Smith, a visually impaired Calgary man who relies on transit as part of his morning commute to work.

Before the assault, which took place around 6:20 a.m., Crane told a friend he wanted “to get” a guy before approaching Smith from behind with a utility knife.

“The accused … slashed his throat, dragging his knife from the right side to the left side of Mr. Smith's neck,” said Wells.

Doctors told him the 23-centimetre gash on his throat missed his carotid artery by four millimetres.

However, Van Harten agreed with defence lawyer Rebecca Snukal, who cited her client's inability to access treatment for fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) while serving jail time prevented him from coping with the challenges posed by his illness.

She said Crane received over six years equivalent in sentences since 2019 but only two probation periods.

“If you were to impose the sentence my friend is asking … that doesn't help the public,” said Snukal, who claimed sending him to a federal prison would make him a greater danger to society.

Snukal lined up a placement for Crane in the John Howard Society's FASD program, which she hopes will help him navigate his life better.

“That's going to give him a life, and that's what I'm asking you to do,” she divulged to Van Harten.

He agreed with the arguments mounted by the defence lawyer, citing the inter-generational trauma Europeans have caused Indigenous communities.

“The history of colonialism has to be taken into account,” he said.

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