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London man sentenced to 18 months in prison after unprovoked Stratford bombings

Jonathan Halfyard of London was sentenced to 18 months in jail and three years probation after pleading guilty to assault and assault causing bodily harm resulting from unprovoked attacks on two separate people in Stratford in last May.

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A London man who punched two Stratford residents in the face in two separate unprovoked attacks last May pleaded guilty in Stratford court on Wednesday to two counts of assault and was sentenced to 18 months in prison.

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Jonathan Halfyard, 36, filed his plea by videoconference from Stratford Prison, where he has been in pre-trial detention since his arrest by Stratford Police on May 29, 2021, the same date as the attacks.

According to an agreed statement of facts, Halfyard walked between two customers at the Home Hardware store on Huron Street in Stratford that morning and, standing behind William Howe, raised his fist and punched the 62-year-old man in the center of the head. Unaware that Halfyard was behind him, Howe banged his head against a metal shelf and fell to the ground unconscious, prosecutor Jeffrey Costain said, reading the narrative.

Halfyard then fled the store and drove his van to the back of the Stratford Farm Equipment store on Perth Line 34, where he unhooked a trailer tied up in the back yard in an apparent attempt to hide it, Costain said. Halfyard then left the company and later arrived on Center Street in Stratford, where Chris Doussept, who was 46 at the time, was walking his dog.

Costain said Halfyard stopped his truck, spoke briefly to Doussept and then punched him in the face. Doussept was then able to provide a description of Halfyard and his truck to police, which enabled officers to locate and arrest the London man three minutes later.

While Doussept was not injured, Costain said Howe was bleeding from his head and could not remember his date of birth for several hours after the attack. It was at once taken to hospital, but opted out against medical advice later in the day. According to Costain and Halfyard defense attorney Damon Hardy, Howe has since received physical therapy and counseling for his injuries.

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“This was an inexplicable assault on people totally unknown to Mr. Halfyard – unprovoked and without warning with serious consequences for one of the people,” Costain said.

During his sentencing presentation, Hardy said Halfyard struggled with alcohol and substance use, especially cocaine, and suffered from an undiagnosed mental illness. While he had received medication in the past, he was not taking any prescribed medication on the day of the attacks, the lawyer said.

“In the days leading up to these events here, I understood that Mr. Halfyard was drinking heavily and had also used cocaine, and had not slept for several days. Jonathan told me that he did not use the same day, but that he had used the previous days. It seemed to me like it was sort of a bender, ”said Hardy, adding that Halfyard, who runs a landscaping and snow removal company in London, had taken a paid job to fell a tree earlier today.

After completing this job, Hardy said his client argued with both a neighbor and another driver and then drove off to cool off, eventually ending up in Stratford with no memory of the trip.

“The facts supporting these guilty pleas are of great concern. … You went to Stratford… and assaulted two citizens who were just minding their own business, going about their business, and as a result of your actions these actions had significant consequences for the victims of these crimes, ”Justice Kathryn McKerlie said. “These are unprovoked and senseless acts of violence that require a clear message of denunciation and deterrence. “

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Reading Howe’s statement on the victim’s impact, McKerlie pointed out that the attack not only left the man with lingering pain, headaches and a lost sense of security, but also had an impact. on his ability to trust strangers and people in general.

McKerlie also took into account Halfyard’s violent criminal history, which dates back to 2011 and includes multiple assault convictions.

On the assault and assault causing bodily harm charges, the Stratford judge accepted Costain and Hardy’s joint sentencing submission and formally withdrew a mischief charge with the consent of the Crown . Of his 18-month jail sentence, Halfyard was awarded 342 days in pre-trial detention and will serve the remaining 198 days in Stratford Prison.

In addition to the usual conditions, Halfyard’s three-year probation includes a prescription to attend and participate in rehabilitation programs as directed, which he reports any changes or interruptions to prescribed medications to his probation officer, which he does not leave. home under the influence of alcohol or drugs and not communicating with victims or being within 200 meters of any location victims are known to frequent. After his sentence is over, Halfyard is also banned from staying in the city of Stratford.

“I have a lot of remorse for what happened. I wish it never happened and I wish I could take it back somehow. I realize how important my mental health is now, ”Halfyard said, adding that he hoped to be officially diagnosed with his mental illness and begin treatment in prison.

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