A man who seriously injured another during a mid-afternoon confrontation at a Brandon traffic light has been given a chance to maintain a clean criminal record.
"Essentially, what we have here is a road rage incident," Crown attorney Brett Rach said, describing the events that led to the assault.
In Brandon provincial court on Thursday, 28-year-old Braeden Thomas Maxwell was sentenced for assault causing bodily harm.
His lawyer, Eric Wach, said his client was sorry for the Aug. 4, 2016, assault that left the victim with a lasting head injury.
Wach said his client overreacted in the belief that the victim’s driving had put his life in danger. In court, Wach didn’t detail the driving by the victim that had upset his client, telling court that he didn’t want to engage in victim blaming.
However, outside of court, Wach said that his client reported that the victim had persistently tailgated him and had sped past him when he’d slowed for an amber light.
Following that, the two drivers encountered each other again, and Wach said Maxwell reported that the victim had deliberately driven toward him in an apparent attempt to ram him.
Rach said the parties had gone their separate ways but Maxwell, stewing in anger, turned around, and caught up with the victim at a traffic light at the corner of 19th Street and Richmond Avenue.
Both men got out of their vehicles and engaged in some mutual shoving. Wach’s client maintains that his adversary punched him.
However, Rach said Maxwell took things further by punching the 62-year-old victim five to six times. The victim then fell and hit his head on a curb.
One witness called police, while another drove their vehicle in front of Maxwell’s to stop him from driving away. Maxwell managed to drive off anyway, after the witness heard him exclaim: "He f-----g deserved it, he almost killed me!"
The victim was taken to hospital, bleeding from a five-centimetre cut to the back of his head. Rach said the victim, a mechanic, can’t work because the head injury caused problems with his memory.
Maxwell went to hospital for his own injuries, then surrendered to police.
Wach said Maxwell had headaches and a sprained thumb, that later resulted in the loss of his job at an excavating company.
While some elements of the altercation were consensual, legally a person can’t consent to suffering bodily harm.
The victim wasn’t charged in the incident.
Court heard that Maxwell had pre-existing mental health conditions that make him prone to being impulsive. Wach said those conditions appeared to play a role in the assault.
Maxwell has no criminal record and was given a two-year conditional discharge that will allow him to keep that record clean if he abides by its conditions.
Those conditions include anger management counselling and 80 hours of community service work.