Coalmont man found guilty in 2015 phone booth attack
A B.C. man has been found guilty of ramming his vehicle into a telephone booth while another man, with whom he allegedly had a long simmering feud, was making a call inside.
The incident occurred on March 29, 2015 in Coalmont, a tiny community west of Princeton, B.C.
On Tuesday, Ronald Giroux pleaded not guilty to one count of assault causing bodily harm and one count of assault with a weapon, but was convicted of the crimes by a judge on Wednesday.
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In an agreed statement of facts, Crown counsel John Swanson said Giroux drove two to three blocks past the phone booth where Warren Spence was making a call.
The 69-year-old then turned his red 1989 Ford Escort around and rapidly accelerated, Crown said, ramming into the phone booth.
Crown said Spence was thrown out of the booth on impact.
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The victim suffered numerous lacerations to his face and body and soft tissue injuries to both of his knees. The phone booth was completely destroyed and knocked off its foundation.
Giroux’s vehicle stopped running and he allegedly said, “If I can get this car going I’m going to finish the job.”
He is then accused of trying to strike Spence with his walking stick before Spence fended him off with a shovel.
Defence presented its case, suggesting that a medical condition could be responsible for the collision.
Giroux told doctors that he felt dizzy and blacked out prior to the incident. He was monitored in hospital for 72 hours and his heart rate was normal, court heard.
While testifying as a witness for the defense, Giroux’s family physician, Ella Monro, said it’s “entirely possible” that he suffered an epileptic seizure.
She listed his plethora of medical issues, including a brain injury suffered during a snowmobile accident in 2007.
She said after a series of tests following the incident, Giroux was diagnosed with epilepsy and the dizziness spells ceased with the prescription of anti-seizure medication.
Swanson grilled Monro under cross-examination.
“If someone was experiencing an epileptic seizure, would they have the motor skills to direct their motor vehicle back to the location of the crash and line it up with the target telephone booth?” Swanson asked.
“I can tell you that when someone has an epileptic seizure they are not able to control themselves, they’re not conscious,” Monro responded.
Court heard there was bad blood between Giroux and Spence.
They were former business partners in a protracted dispute, but it hasn’t been revealed if that could be a potential motive in the attack.
The trial was scheduled for two days.
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