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New Westminster tenant who assaulted landlord following rent dispute gets six months less a day in jail

Keith Fraser

Scales of Justice statue at B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on May 5, 2016. (Jason Payne/Postmedia Network/Files)

Scales of Justice statue at B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on May 5, 2016. (Jason Payne/Postmedia Network/Files)

A New Westminster man who assaulted his landlord following a dispute over his rent has been sentenced to six months less a day in jail.

In March, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Paul Walker found Shawn Ricardo White-Bynoe, 43, guilty of the Dec. 18, 2015 attack on Michael Rowe, 58, and Rowe's son, Blaine Dunn, 29.

On the day of the incident, Rowe and Dunn were standing outside the apartment building in the 400-block of 8th Street when White-Bynoe came out through the front door and walked in between the two men, causing them to step back.

As White-Bynoe walked past Rowe, the building manager pushed him from behind with one hand, prompting the accused to spin around and raise his arm high and strike Rowe over the head with a metal baton.

After hitting Rowe, White-Byneo chased after Dunn to assault him, hitting him on the back of his jacket with a machete.

Rowe suffered a fractured skull, deep cuts and bone fragments requiring medical intervention. The head injury has left him with headaches, nausea, scars and anxiety.

In imposing sentence, the judge said that the aggravating factors included that the attack came without warning and involved the use of force that was "all out of proportion" to the situation.

"After striking Mr. Rowe with significant force, he then chased after the much younger Mr. Dunn, who had done nothing to provoke him or cause him to be fearful of his safety," said the judge.

"Mr. White-Bynoe caused serious, significant, permanent injury to Mr. Rowe and, albeit to a much lesser degree, injury and emotional upset for Mr. Dunn. Mr. White-Bynoe was not impaired by alcohol or drugs."

The judge said the mitigating factors included that the accused, who immigrated to Canada from Barbados in 2002, had been in Canada for 15 years and had no prior criminal record and had been helping support his girlfriend and her daughter.

He said however that he could attribute limited weight to expressions of remorse from White-Bynoe as he had not fully accepted his role in the assault.

White-Bynoe had little reaction to the sentence. In addition to the jail term, the judge imposed a period of two years of probation.

The conditions of probation include that he have no contact with the victims and stay away from the apartment building where the assault occurred.

Court heard that at the time of the assault, the accused was upset about an ongoing conflict with Rowe over his tenancy in the building.

The dispute involved an attempt by the building owner to evict White-Bynoe due to what was alleged to have been unpaid rent for three months in 2015.

The Residential Tenancy Branch decided White-Bynoe should be allowed to remain in his unit, but left open the possibility for the owner to take further steps to end the tenancy.