CALGARY – The "near homicidal" meat cleaver attack of a man on a downtown Calgary train platform should draw a prison term of up to nine years, a Calgary prosecutor said Monday.
Crown lawyer Gord Haight said a stern message needed to be sent to Khurrum Sheikh Ross, because the next time he loses his temper, someone might die.
"I ask, rhetorically, what is going to happen next time?" Haight told Justice Barb Veldhuis. "If this offender flies into a similar homicidal, or near homicidal rage , the chances are the victim's luck is going to run out and someone's going to end up dead."
Ross earlier pleaded guilty to aggravated assault in connection with a Sept. 27, 2010, attack on Derek Tollestrup at a C-Train station, part of Calgary's public transit system.
Ross admitted pulling a meat cleaver from his backpack and attacking the man he'd spent the last day with.
The assault, captured on surveillance video, took place as numerous transit users looked on, according to a statement of agreed facts.
Calling the attack "extreme brutality," Haight said Tollestrup, who later refused to co-operate with investigators, had no way to protect himself.
"This victim was, in essence, defenceless," the prosecutor said.
Haight noted the actual assault lasted a full minute and a half and continued even as bystanders yelled at Ross to stop.
"The length of the attack here is extremely aggravating," he said.
Tollestrup was struck repeatedly on the head, back and arm, suffering multiple lacerations to his scalp and other areas.
Ross was initially charged with attempted murder, but pleaded guilty last year to a reduced charge of aggravated assault.
Defence lawyer Maggie O'Shaughnessy argued her client should be given more than the usually one-for-one credit for his pre-sentencing custody, in part because of delays in his case.
A date to continue Ross's sentencing hearing will be set on Friday.