Original article no longer available
By JEFF BELL
February 17, 2009
No matter what happens to 30-year-old Shawn Douglas Gale at a hearing to determine whether or not he is a dangerous offender, a special understanding has already been reached between his mother and one of the people he attacked in a bizarre crime spree two years ago.
Gale’s mother, here from the Lower Mainland to watch her son’s legal proceedings, approached the man outside the courtroom yesterday afternoon and offered a tearful apology for what her son did. The man hugged her and told her not to worry.
Victoria provincial court judge Jeanne Harvey is considering an application from Crown counsel to have Gale declared a dangerous offender. Gale has pleaded guilty to numerous offences, many of them committed during a four-hour spree on Feb. 18, 2007, that included carjacking, assault and kidnapping, and ranged from Saanich to Sombrio Beach.
Dangerous-offender status carries an indeterminate sentence, with a parole application after seven years. Defence lawyer Sue Wishart is looking for a conventional fixed sentence for Gale, who has been at the Vancouver Island Regional Correctional Facility since his 2007 arrest.
Described as unassuming and clean-cut in his appearance two years ago by many of his Victoria-area victims, Gale had much the same look as he sat in the prisoner’s box at for the first day of his hearing. He had little or no reaction as the details of his 2007 offences were related to the court.
Police said Gale began his crime-spree in a downtown bar after which he crashed a stolen car, and then forced his way into a woman’s SUV when she stopped to help. He made her drive at gunpoint.
While she managed to talk her way out of the vehicle, he kept driving until he ran off the road near Uplands Golf Course. A 74-year-old man stopped to give his assistance, but had his vehicle commandeered as well. The court heard the man was threatened and beaten.
The man eventually escaped at Colwood Corners.
Gale later stopped at gas stations where he tried to buy gas, cigarettes and lottery tickets with the man’s credit card.
Sometime later, Gale stopped at a home on West Coast Road where he ended up pulling a knife on the owner. The man suffered serious injuries, including three severed tendons on his left hand, but managed to fend Gale off.
When he was arrested, Gale told the police to shoot him, but eventually gave up when he was told he would be tasered. He told police he had been on Valium and the anti-depressant Celexa, but hadn’t been using them for a while. Psychiatric evaluations of Gale will be heard during the trial.
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