Lawyer seeks leniency for man who stabbed ex-girlfriend outside school

Lawyer seeks leniency for man who stabbed ex-girlfriend outside school

The defence lawyer for the 38-year-old London man convicted of attempted murder after stabbing a woman outside a St. Marys elementary school has asked for a prison sentence of 10 to 12 years.

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The defence lawyer for a London man convicted of attempted murder in the stabbing of his former girlfriend outside a St. Marys elementary school has asked for a prison sentence of 10 to 12 years.

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Derek Boyd was led back into Stratford Superior Court on Thursday for the second day of his sentencing hearing after Crown lawyer Elizabeth Wilson called for a life sentence earlier this month.

Boyd’s lawyer, Amy Robern, came with a stack of case law from 10 attempted-murder cases from across Canada, most of which involved domestic violence.

Robern argued Boyd’s attack on his former girlfriend and employee in her parked car in the Little Falls elementary school parking lot on the morning of Feb. 12, 2020, wasn’t planned. Robern said the attack didn’t happen in front of the victim’s son, who was in the school at the time. Robern also argued the injuries suffered by the victim were not immediately life threatening, saying Boyd stopped his attack after the victim escaped the car and run to the school for help.

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Boyd’s guilty plea last September, his willingness to seek counselling and the apology he read on the first day of his sentencing hearing also were evidence of his remorse, Robern said. The Crown’s recommended life sentence, the lawyer argued, was not warranted in this case.

In her response, Wilson said Boyd’s circumstances were different than the cited case law, pointing to his recent history of violence. Wilson said the attack was not tied to any substance abuse or steroid use, noting he only stopped his attack after the victim alerted bystanders by kicking her car’s horn.

Wilson also said courts recently had been handing out longer prison sentences for offenders convicted of attempted murder or violence involving an intimate partner.

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Prior to making her submissions, Robern told the court she had applied to have a defence-commissioned report by forensic psychiatrist Julian Gojer withdrawn. That report was intended to shed light on Boyd’s mental illness diagnosis, his prognosis, his risk of reoffending and any recommendations that report’s author might have. Though Robern didn’t explain her rationale for withdrawing the report, she did say it was a last-minute decision.

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While Superior Court Justice Marc Garson granted Robern’s request, Wilson argued the Crown should still be able to enter the psychiatrist’s report as evidence and, if warranted, call on Gojer to testify as an expert witness.

While Garson ruled he will hear testimony from Gojer, the Crown only can proceed after the defence is given as long as a month to prepare a cross-examination. Garson said both lawyers also would be able to modify or add to their sentencing submissions after listening to Gojer’s testimony.

Garson adjourned the case to April 8. The judge said he would set a date for Gojer to take the stand if requested by the Crown.

In an agreed statement of facts read to the court after Boyd’s September guilty plea, Wilson said the victim was waiting for roadside assistance after noticing a puncture in one of the tires of her rental car. After opening the driver’s side door, Boyd lunged into the vehicle holding a large knife and, during the ensuing struggle, stabbed the victim twice, once in her right abdomen and again in her right shoulder. The knife passed between two ribs, through her liver and nicked her gallbladder.

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The woman escaped through the passenger’s side door after kicking the car’s horn to alert people nearby, and ran into the main lobby of the school. She was taken to Victoria Hospital in London. Multiple stitches and staples were required to close her wounds and emergency surgery was needed to repair damage to her abdomen.

In a victim-impact statement read to the court on March 21, the woman said she first met Boyd, the operator of two now-closed nutrition stores in London, when he interviewed her four years ago for a job so she could support her young son. She detailed how she ultimately tried to escape the abusive relationship she had with Boyd after learning he had lied about being diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer.

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