The young man who slashed the face and neck of two other Surrey men last year should spend eight years in jail, says the lawyer prosecuting Anthony LaRose.
One of LaRose’s victims, Chris Hanna, who bears a scar on his right cheek stretching from his mouth towards his ear, thinks the prison term should be longer.
“But I know it won’t be,” said Hanna during a break in LaRose’s sentencing hearing Thursday.
“I’ve forgiven him already. I’ve moved on.”
In March, a jury found LaRose, 21, guilty of two counts of aggravated assault, two counts of assault with a weapon, and one count of possessing a weapon in connection to an incident in April 2010 near Fraser Highway and 156 Street.
It was the early hours of April 3 when Hanna and his friend Saul Marshall, both now 25, were returning from a night out when they stopped at a gas station. Hanna said he ran across the street when he saw a man, LaRose, hit a woman.
A fight broke out, Marshall joined in and LaRose pulled a knife on the two unarmed men. He slashed Hanna across the face and stabbed him in the gut three times and sliced Marshall’s neck, narrowly missing the vital carotid artery, before fleeing the scene.
During the eight-day jury trial, LaRose never denied the double-stabbing, but claimed he didn’t know how badly the pair were hurt and that he ran because he knew police would blame him due to his prior criminal record. He was on probation at the time.
He argued the two men confronted him first, the fight escalated and he used the knife to defend himself.
In New Westminster Supreme Court on Thursday, Crown prosecutor Craig Yamashiro said LaRose has shown a continued lack of insight or remorse and “a callousness” toward what happened and how it impacted the victims.
The Crown’s eight-year sentence request would be minus the 13-and-a-half months LaRose has already spent in pre-trail custody. A DNA order and lifetime weapons ban is also requested.
LaRose’s lawyer asked for a sentence between three and four years, with time-and-a-half credit for time served.
Defence lawyer Garry MacDonald argued it was Hanna that struck first – regardless of how “disproportionate” LaRose’s response was.
“This is not a planned and deliberate attack,” said MacDonald. “It’s a terribly inappropriate reaction to being attacked.”
Calling an eight-year sentence “unduly devastating,” he said LaRose has “seen the light” and knows he has to proceed with rehabilitation.
A psychological assessment indicated LaRose came from an abusive home, that he used alcohol to cope from a young age, and that may be prone to destructive, antisocial behaviour.
Outside court, Hanna said that his upbringing wasn’t great either, but he’s not out committing crimes.
“You make your own decisions and path in life,” said Hanna.
Larose will be sentenced on May 30.