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Youth handed three-year sentence in triple stabbing on New Year's Eve

Jul 06 2012
The victim: Benjamin Goyertm 24, has cystic fibrosis. He was stabbed in the chest, stomach and arm on Dec. 31, 2011. 

The victim: Benjamin Goyertm 24, has cystic fibrosis. He was stabbed in the chest, stomach and arm on Dec. 31, 2011.

Photograph by: Lyle Stafford , timescolonist.com (July 2012)

A Victoria youth with a "shocking record of violent" offences has received the most severe sentence under the Youth Criminal Justice Act for stabbing three people on New Year's Eve.

The 17-year-old, who can't be named under the act, pleaded guilty to assault, assault with a weapon, assault causing bodily harm and aggravated assault on Benjamin Goyert on Dec. 31, 2011.

The 24-year-old, who has cystic fibrosis, was stabbed in the chest, stomach and arm in the unprovoked attack. He was rushed to hospital with a collapsed lung and required abdominal surgery.

Victoria provincial court Judge Robert Higinbotham sentenced the youth to three years of intensive rehabilitative custody and supervision.

The program, funded by the federal government, is available to young people guilty of the most serious violent offences who suffer from mental health problems. Up to $100,000 a year is available for programming to address an offender's specific needs and risk reduction.

The youth, who also stabbed two of Goyert's friends who came to the aid of another man the youth assaulted, will serve 18 months in secure custody and 18 months in the community with intensive support.

He will receive vocational training, one-on-one education and counselling for violent behaviour and substance abuse.

He will also spend three to six months in a residential treatment program when he is released from custody.

Higinbotham did not credit the youth for the six months he has already spent in custody.

"This is a small window of opportunity to turn things around while you are still a young man," Higinbotham said.

"You should be aware this type of sentence will not be available to you for any violent offences arising in the future. You need to seize on this chance."

Crown prosecutor Clare Jennings said the stabbings took place in the Cook and Hillside area. The youth began punching a man at a house party. When the man ran away, the youth chased him.

Goyert and his friends, who were at a small gathering four houses away, helped the man. The youth hopped over the fence, pulled out a knife and began stabbing Goyert. The youth stabbed one man in the hand and another in the knee.

Outside court, Goyert and his mother, Cindy Goyert, spoke about their frustration with the justice system.

"It's not so much about what happened to me, because I survived. But it became very clear, very quickly, that he is the kind of kid who is not going to stop," Goyert said.

"The most important thing to get across is the injustice of this. Even though he's got the maximum, it seems pretty lax for being millimetres away from killing me with no provocation."

Cindy Goyert said she was shocked to learn the youth had spent most of the past five years in custody and had been out only two months when he almost killed her son. She recalled visiting Benjamin in the hospital during his 10-day stay.

"They covered the wound with plastic and every breath and every word he spoke, you could see the air and the blood bubbling out of his chest," she said.

Defence lawyer Bob Jones told the court the youth had a troubled past. His mother was a drug addict and when he was a boy, a person was killed in their home.

The youth's grandmother addressed the court, expressing her sympathy for the victims and their families.

Higinbotham ordered the youth to provide a DNA sample and imposed a fiveyear weapon prohibition.

ldickson@timescolonist.com

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