‘Not in my right mind’: Apology from man behind multiple random Vancouver assaults

Click to play video: 'Sentencing for Vancouver man on four assaults in one month'
Sentencing for Vancouver man on four assaults in one month
A Vancouver man who pleaded guilty to four assaults in a one-month period in 2022 has been sentenced. Kristen Robinson has the details – Mar 31, 2023

A 28-year old Vancouver man who pleaded guilty to four separate assaults in the span of one month in 2022 is now free in the community.

Shakwan David Kelly was sentenced to one day in jail followed by three years of probation on Friday.

Vancouver Provincial Court judge James Bahen gave Kelly 383 days, or one year and 18 days, credit for the 255 days he’s spent in custody since his arrest on July 21.

Court heard Kelly was diagnosed with schizophrenia at age 18 and was off his anti-psychotic medication and also using crystal meth at the time of the offences last summer.

Bahen determined a time-served sentence with a lengthy order of probation was appropriate so Kelly can have a supervised re-entry into the community with the necessary supports.

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“Mental illness with appropriate medical treatment does not require incarceration,” the judge told the court.

Crown counsel Sharon Preston had asked for a 14- to 16-month jail sentence, minus time served, plus a lengthy probation period.

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

“When he doesn’t take his medications, coupled with drugs, he is a real danger to society,” Preston told the court.

Defence counsel Jessica Dawkins sought a time-served sentence with probation, citing Kelly’s mental health struggles and guilty pleas as mitigating factors.

Kelly, she said, had been living in temporary modular housing at Nora Hendrix Place until March of last year.

Once her client stopped receiving his injection medication, he “spiraled” from there, she told the court.

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The offences took place over a one-month period when Kelly was “quite unwell” Dawkins said, and also “in psychosis,” according to a pre-sentence report.

Once arrested, Kelly was certified under the Mental Health Act and spent four to six weeks at the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital in Coquitlam, where Dawkins said he “did a complete 180” when back on his medications and refraining from substance use.

Kelly, Dawkins said, has also shown remorse for his actions and she hopes to get him into supportive housing in the community.

Kelly’s mother Lavern, who’s attended all her son’s court appearances, told the court she’s willing to support his re-integration into the community.

“Shakwan was not of sound mind at the time he committed these acts,” she told the court Friday.

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

Kelly entered guilty pleas last December relating to five incidents between mid-June and mid-July 2022.

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On June 19, Preston said Kelly was asked to check in at Vancouver General Hospital but refused to do so and eventually entered a restricted area where he punched two security guards in the head.

Both suffered concussions and were seriously injured.

Kelly pleaded guilty to one count of assault, which Crown counsel said was amended to include both victims.

On June 20, Preston said Kelly boarded a Vancouver bus at Main street and Marine Drive and got in a woman’s face – in an incident captured on security video.

When the woman got out of her seat and walked to the front of the bus, Kelly is seen following her and punching her in the face.

The woman’s coffee spilled and she was knocked to the floor.

Kelly pleaded guilty to one count of assault in that incident.

On July 6, Kelly was sleeping on the floor of a SkyTrain near Commercial Drive, and blocking people’s paths, Preston said.

When another rider asked him politely to move his legs, Preston said Kelly punched the man in the head “six or seven times.”

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He pleaded guilty to one count of assault for that attack.

Click to play video: 'Three people hurt in serious assault in downtown Vancouver'
Three people hurt in serious assault in downtown Vancouver

Kelly was also charged with assault, mischief and willfully resisting or obstructing a peace officer for an incident on July 9 – but he pleaded guilty to the obstruction charge only.

Preston said a driver spotted Kelly in the middle of the road in the 700-block of East Cordova Street, and when he kicked her vehicle, police were called.

Kelly ran from officers, said Preston, and was in a full sprint when he reached Pender Street and Gore Avenue in Chinatown – where he slammed into a mother and her two-year-old toddler on the sidewalk outside a local gym.

The mother fell to the ground and struck her head while her child suffered scrapes and was OK.

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That assault charge against Kelly was stayed by the Crown.

In the final incident on July 19, Preston said Kelly showed up at the Kettle Friendship Society and became angry when told he was not allowed in due to being banned from the facility.

Kelly punched and kicked a mental health resource worker according to Preston, and later pleaded guilty to one count of assault.

During sentencing, Kelly stood up and read an apology letter to the court:

“I am very sorry for my actions that have hurt people. I know now what I did was wrong and unfair to those people I have harmed and the people around me. I have learned my lesson and believe that I am working on my rehabilitation,” he said.

“I will not make the same mistakes and have been working on my anger management and drug abuse, and taking my antipsychotic medication. I was not in my right mind and I want to apologize to the victims in front of the Court today,” he added.

“I accept my punishment. I am praying for forgiveness from the community and all involved. I will be sure to continue working hard to be a positive person and not a bad one.”

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Kelly must abide by several probation conditions including attending doctor’s appointments, taking all medications prescribed to him and not contacting his victims.

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