An Abbotsford judge has dismissed the allegation that a 2011 attack on an elderly Indo-Canadian man was racially motivated.
At a sentencing hearing on Thursday, provincial court judge Rob Caryer gave Daronne Malcome Dobni a conditional discharge and 18 months probation after the Abbotsford man pleaded guilty to assault.
The unprovoked attack against a stranger was troubling but there was no indication the assault was racist in nature, said the judge.
"I don't consider this a race-based crime," Caryer said.
"If it were, I'd send [Dobni] to jail because hate crimes are completely intolerable."
Caryer said that Dobni pleaded guilty to the offence despite a "highly suspect" identification by police that would likely not have stood up in court if the matter had gone to trial.
Dobni, 30, also had o criminal record, a istory of serving the ommunity and was nder some mental tress at the time of the
However, the judge cautioned Dobni to abide by his court conditions and cautioned him not to risk even "spitting on the sidewalk."
Dobni was originally charged with assault with a weapon stemming from an incident on April 26, 2011 in which he allegedly hit a 64-year-old Indo-Canadian man in the head with a bottle.
At the time, Abbotsford Police alleged Dobni had made racial slurs during the assault.
Defence counsel Rob Dhanu said initial indications the assault was a hate crime were not borne out by the victim's statements.
Dobni, whose stepfather is Indo-Canadian, was greatly troubled by suggestions that race was a factor in the incident, said Dhanu.
"All those months being perceived by those around him - by friends, family and the community - as a
family and the community - as a racist individual . . . he was beside himself."
Crown told the court that on the day of the assault, Zora Singh Bhangu was sitting with some friends on a was sitting with some friends on a bench on Old Yale Road near Fishtrap Creek Park in Abbotsford around 10: 30 a.m.
Dobni was walking toward the men and swearing loudly.
When the older man got up, approached Dobni and told him to stop swearing, the younger man struck Bhangu in the head, knocking him to the ground.
The victim sustained bruises and swelling on his face near his right eye. It was not clear whether Dobni had used a bottle in his hand to hit Bhangu.
Dhanu said that Dobni was in a "fragile state" because of the recent death of a close friend and mentor.
Dobni apologized in court saying his cir-umstances didn't justify the attack.
He swore at the men because he was angry at the way they were looking at him. He said that when Bhangu approached him, he was waving a cane and he warned the older man to get away before striking him.
"I do apologize for what I've done," Dobni said. Caryer ordered Dobni's letter of apology be sent to Bhangu. The judge ordered Dobni to take any counselling, treatment or psychological assessments suggested by his probation officer, to complete 50 hours of community service and not possess or consume alcohol or illegal drugs.