No jail for trio after brutal assault and robbery of Gold River drug dealer

The judge sentenced two of the men to 500 hours community service and two years probation

Three young men who viciously assaulted and robbed a Gold River drug dealer won’t be going to jail.

Instead, Yusaku Nakamura and Shane Vincent, both 21, were each sentenced to 500 hours community service and two years probation. A Young Offender, who cannot be named, was also convicted in the case.

“This is a very tragic case involving a vicious, unprovoked assault,” wrote B.C. Supreme Court Justice Selwyn Romilly, in a decision handed down Friday in Campbell River. “The victim suffered significant injuries…he will carry the physical and psychological scars from the attack with him for many years to come.”

The victim, referred to in the case by the initials J.H.B., was known to sell marijuana in the Village of Gold River, located near the west coast of Vancouver Island. On Jan. 8, 2009, Vincent, Nakamura, both 18 at the time and attending high school, along with another young man, planned to rob J.H.B. of his cash and marijuana.

Vincent called J.H.B. and arranged to buy pot from him at the Aquatic Centre in Gold River. When the trio arrived, Nakamura stabbed J.H.B. in the face and stomach, while the other young man clubbed him with a baseball ban. Vincent apparently fled the scene before the assault occurred.

The victim suffered serious injuries and nearly died. He was bleeding profusely and was transported to Campbell River Hospital where he received 12 litres of saline solution in order to keep his blood pressure up.

During surgery, doctors drained approximately three litres of blood from his abdomen and J.H.B. required eight litres of blood during his week in hospital.

The three culprits were later arrested. The youngest received six months of “intensive supervision and support” along with 18 months probation.

At trial, Nakamura was found guilty of aggravated assault and assault with intent to commit robbery. Vincent also pleaded guilty to the latter charge after the judge ruled that statements he made were admissible at trial.

At Friday’s sentencing hearing, Crown prosecutor John Boccabella asked the judge to impose a four-year jail sentence on Nakamura and a three-year sentence on Vincent. However, in the aftermath of the robbery, both young men have taken positive steps, which the judge noted.

“…I am dealing with two youthful first offenders who have shown sincere remorse for their actions,” wrote Justice Romilly.

According to defence lawyer James Hormoth, Vincent moved away from Gold River due to the community’s reaction to the crime. He now lives in the Lower Mainland, works full-time and cares for his mother who suffers from schizophrenia.

Nakamura is also working full-time in Campbell River at a fast food restaurant and was acknowledged as a good worker by his boss.

“In the case of Vincent, sending him to jail means the removal of support for his ailing mother,” the judge wrote. “In the case of of Nakamura, he has obtained gainful employment, and his employer and his friend’s mother, with whom he is staying, speak highly of him.”

The judge then sentenced both men to 500 hours community service and two years probation. In addition, they are to have no contact with the victim. They were also banned from possessing any weapons for 10 years and were ordered to provide a DNA sample to the national police registry.