More outrage from Caledonia...
A very serious crime...and a very light sentence...
Mr. Gualtieri was a construction worker who was developing four homes at the Stirling South subdivision, located a kilometre from the disputed territory. On Sept. 13, 2007, Mr. Gualtieri and members of his work crew arrived at one of those houses, and found three natives inside. A confrontation ensued, and Richard Smoke, a then-18-year-old native man, began to fight with Mr. Gualtieri while his underage companions fled. When Mr. Gualtieri’s work crew entered the half-built home, they found him badly injured on the ground, while Smoke beat him with a piece of lumber he was swinging with both arms.
Mr. Gualtieri suffered severe injuries to his face and head, and sustained permanent brain damage. To this day, he has trouble reading, speaks slowly and walks with difficulty. He has not been able to return to work.
The guilt of the assailant, Richard Smoke, has been established by the courts — he was found guilty of break and enter and aggravated assault in September. And no one disputes the seriousness of the crime: Judge Alan Whitten described the assault against Mr. Gualtieri to have been “just a notch below culpable homicide.” He added that this “very serious and grave offence” did not advance “any ideology or idea” — was not politically motivated, in other words. It was a brutal assault, well removed from the actual occupation, and one that continues to have lasting ramifications for Mr. Gualtieri, who will, as Judge Whitten wrote, “live life as a brain-damaged man.”
Yet Smoke’s lawyer argued that her client was raised in a culture of racism, and negatively impacted by the legacy of the residential school system (of which Smoke himself was never a part, having been born a full 15 years after the last residential school in Ontario closed). She asked Judge Whitten to consider the “aboriginal perspective” when determining Smoke’s sentence.
Consider it, Judge Whitten most certainly did. For a vicious assault on an unarmed man who was going about his lawful business on private property, Smoke was sentenced to only two years and 11 months. With time served, Smoke will serve less than two years behind bars for a crime even Judge Whitten believes was barely below intentional murder.