Stiffer sentence wanted for teen over axe attack



rafe arnott/metro vancouver


Michael Levy, left, at the Surrey courthouse yesterday during the sentencing hearing for the axe-wielding attacker who left him a quadriplegic. His sister Crystal, right, breaks down in tears as she recounts shared childhood moments after reading her victim impact statement.

« He used to pick me up and throw me over his shoulder. And now he struggles to use a fork. »

The family of a 19-year-old man left a paraplegic after he was struck with an axe will have to wait a few more days to learn the attacker’s fate.

Michael Levy has been confined to a wheelchair since he was beaten by three teens in October 2006. He has seen two of his attackers receive lenient sentences so this time the Crown wants the axe-wielding teen to serve five to six years.

The 18-year-old, who cannot be named because of his age, sprayed Levy with mace, struck him with the axe three times, fracturing his spine, and kicked him while he was down.

Levy’s sister Crystal, 24, sobbed as she read her victim impact statement. "When Michael was 18, he used to pick me up and throw me over his shoulder," she said. "And now he struggles to use a fork."

Prosecutor Michaela Donnelly asked for an adult sentence to reflect the severity of the offence. As a youth, the maximum sentence would be two years.

Two other teenagers — Tuan "Tony" Minh Nguyen and Robert Alexander Green, both 18 — punched Levy in the face and smashed a bottle over his head, respectively.

Nguyen got 20 months house arrest and Green got a three-year sentence at a youth detention centre.

B.C.’s attorney general launched an appeal after Nguyen was filmed laughing in the court elevator shortly after receiving his sentence.

Many have called the sentences too lenient, but David MacAlister, a professor in criminology at SFU, said the perception is misguided.

"It’s a tough job and there are two sides to every story," he said, adding that judges have to consider things like past convictions, admission of guilt and perceived remorse.

A sentence is expected within the next few days.