Nine-year sentence for man who tried to kill neighbours in ‘wanton’ attacks — (The Brampton Guardian)

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The Brampton Guardian

May 29, 2015

by Pam Douglas, Brampton Guardian

BRAMPTON — A young Brampton man convicted of trying to kill two unsuspecting neighbours in what a judge called an “unprovoked, wanton attack” has been handed a nine-year prison sentence by a Brampton judge.

Ryan Edwards, 22, who has a long history of mental illness, has already spent more than three years in jail, and was credited with five years and two months for that time by Justice Meredith Donohue.

That leaves three years, 10 months left to serve from the date of his sentencing Wednesday (May 27). He was convicted on two counts of attempted murder following a trial last November.

Court heard Edwards was just 18 on Dec. 22, 2011 when, frustrated and angry because it looked like he would not get a job and because he had run out of alcohol and cigarettes, he approached his neighbour and asked him to step outside to answer some questions. Edwards pulled out a knife and tried to stab him. The victim, Gurpreet Singh, pushed him back and ran across the street for help. He was not stabbed.

Soon after, Edwards passed another neighbour, Mahar Gill, who was walking home from work. Court heard Edwards smiled at him as he passed, then turned and stabbed him in the back with a kitchen knife before running away. Gill was critically injured but survived.

Edwards later told police he wanted to kill someone to see what it felt like.

Concern about his mental health and the potential risk he could pose to society was raised by Crown John Kingdon who asked for a 12-year sentence.

Court heard Edwards had made statements about killing someone five months earlier while confined in a youth program by court order, obtained by his concerned father. He told doctors the statements were jokes. He was released from the program when he turned 18.

He was on anti-psychotic medication at the time of the attacks, and is still on medication, according to a pre-sentence report. One month before the attacks, he was diagnosed at Brampton Civic Hospital with Pervasive Developmental Disorder, a neuropsychological disorder arising from abnormal brain development before birth, Donohue said in her sentencing decision. It impairs functions including planning, organizing, sequencing and impulse control.

He was on 400 ml of a prescribed medication, but a doctor testified at trial that the appropriate dose should have been 1,000 ml.

Edwards has stated he is a “good person who can become a better person”, has expressed remorse, and is aware he has a mental illness and needs medication, Donohue noted.

He is seeing a psychiatrist every 1 ½ to 2 months to maintain his medication, but has not asked for counseling, so has not received any in jail, she noted.