Tears from parents, judge at sentencing hearing in beating of boy at CPRI
Published Friday, October 18, 2013 1:14PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, October 18, 2013 6:42PM EDT
Emotional victim impact statements were read Friday ahead of the sentencing of Greg Simard for an attack on a 12-year-old autistic boy outside the Child and Parent Resource Institute.
Both the child’s mother and father broke down – and then so did the judge – as the statements were delivered in a London courtroom. A court order prevents the family from being identified.
Outside the courthouse the boy’s father said “[Simard] has made our lives a living hell…having a severely autistic child is a really big challenge, having a severly autistic child who has been beaten almost to death and put in a wheelchair takes it to a whole new world.”
Inside the courtroom the boy’s mother said “There is a horror movie that plays over and over in my head. It is Greg Simard beating my son's face, kicking and stomping on his head. My innocent child. I cannot escape these images.”
His father explained the challenges to the court “Before the attack [he] could run, bike and horseback ride...after [he] could not lift his head. We had to teach him to eat and drink.”
Simard, 25, was found criminally responsible in connection with the beating in June, following two separate psychiatric assessments that produced conflicting opinions on his mental state.
He had pleaded guilty to attempted murder and three other charges in connection with the assault a month earlier.
At the time of the incident in September 2012 Simard was a full-time contract employee at CPRI. The boy, who has autism and is non-verbal, was found severely injured after the attack.
Crown attorney Fraser Ball has recommended a life sentence, saying Simard “has demonstrated the specific intent to kill…he knew it was morally wrong but he did it anyway.”
But defence attorney Jim Dean says Simard suffers from mental illness, and is asking for a six to 10 year sentence.
“What he said is clearly while he was suffering from a mental illness and it’s not consistent with what his life was before.”
The court has heard Simard claimed to be acting on orders from the government to kill the boy.
But the boy’s father says “This was evil and it should be treated that way…I want my son to walk, the rest of this, I’d really like to see him in jail for life.”
After the statements were read, an emotional Justice Jeanine LeRoy announced the sentencing for Simard would be put off until Dec. 17 so victim impact statements and submissions could be considered.
She told the court “I know everyone wants the sentence to be decided, but it’s a difficult one…this is where you all leave and leave me alone.”