Man pleads guilty to four Vancouver assaults in a single month

Click to play video: 'Man pleads guilty to five assaults in Vancouver'
Man pleads guilty to five assaults in Vancouver
A man accused of five separate violent assaults in Vancouver, two of them caught on video, has pleaded guilty to all charges. Kristen Robinson tells us what might happen next – Jan 7, 2023

A man who was captured on surveillance twice attacking strangers in Vancouver last year has pleaded guilty to four separate assaults over a one month period.

Shakwan David Kelly, 27, entered the four guilty pleas along with a fifth guilty plea for obstructing a peace officer in Vancouver Provincial Court on Dec. 28 in relation to a string assaults between June 19 and July 19 of 2022.

While serving 24 months probation for a 2020 assault conviction and a 2021 mischief conviction, Kelly was accused of assaulting two security guards at Vancouver General Hospital on June 19, 2022. He pleaded guilty to one of two assault charges.

On June 20, Kelly attacked a stranger on board a TransLink bus in Vancouver.

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Metro Vancouver Transit Police released security video of the incident, and said the suspect aggressively approached a woman shaking his fist and threatening to punch her.

When the woman moved to the front of the bus to alert the driver, she was punched in the head and face several times, spilling her beverage and falling to the floor. Police said the victim was not seriously hurt.

On July 6, Kelly assaulted another person on or near transit in Vancouver.

Three days later, security video from Ryan Diaz’ Pender Street gym recorded Kelly allegedly knocking down a mother and her toddler, who were standing outside.

Click to play video: 'Suspect arrested in connection with assault in Vancouver’s Chinatown appears in court'
Suspect arrested in connection with assault in Vancouver’s Chinatown appears in court

Minutes earlier, Kelly had allegedly kicked vehicles on East Cordova Street near Hawks Avenue before running towards Chinatown, where he was arrested after the alleged attack on the mother and child.

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“I’m sad that he got to harm five different people before getting help,” said Diaz, the owner of Diaz Combat Sports.

“Obviously, number one is to keep the public safe and especially the innocent.”

Kelly was charged with mischief and willfully resisting or obstructing a peace officer in the Chinatown incident, but pleaded guilty to one count of obstruction only while the assault charge was stayed.

He was back on the streets the next day, July 10, after being released from custody on an order with no financial obligation.

When Kelly allegedly failed to show for a court appearance on July 12, the Vancouver Police Department said a B.C.-wide warrant was issued for his arrest.

One week later on July 19, Kelly attacked someone at the Kettle Friendship Society in East Vancouver.

Click to play video: 'VPD release video of assault on mom and toddler in Vancouver’s Chinatown'
VPD release video of assault on mom and toddler in Vancouver’s Chinatown

He was re-arrested on July 21 and has remained in custody since – where he was the subject of a mental health assessment order.

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Psychiatrist Dr. Bill MacEwan works with clients of Vancouver’s Downtown Community Court, where Kelly first appeared.

“The system, when it works, can work very well,” MacEwan told Global News.

MacEwan is not connected to Kelly’s case but said assessment orders indicate the judge or lawyers involved are interested in helping an individual who may have mental health problems. The orders, he said, will sometimes lead to treatment for that person.

“The best case scenario is that it will happen because the person is willing and able to and they are in a situation where they can be seen by a psychiatrist or a psychiatric nurse to start that off,” explained MacEwan.

“The worst case scenario is that they are not able to or they’re not willing, and you end up in jail with a mental illness for sometimes not a very serious crime, and you don’t get any treatment.”

Global News has reached out to Kelly’s lawyer, who has previously stated her client has “mental health difficulties.”

“It wasn’t really about us versus them,” Diaz said.

“More important, I want, I hope people like him get the help that they need, because they need help.”

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Kelly remains in custody ahead of a court appearance Feb. 8, when a date for sentencing is expected to be set.

Editor’s note: An earlier version stated Kelly pleaded guilty to five assaults, based on information from Crown prosecutors. Prosecutors have since issued a correction stating that he had pleaded guilty to four assaults and one count of obstructing a peace officer.

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