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North Van man gets 5 years for stabbing stranger in downtown apartment

Accused showed lack of remorse, judge says
Vancouver Law courts-statueMIKE
A North Vancouver man was sentenced in B.C. Supreme Court last month.

A North Vancouver man has been sentenced to more than five years in prison for aggravated assault after he stabbed a stranger in the chest.

Thomas Joseph Adamec, 29, was sentenced in B.C. Supreme Court last month.

At the time of the attack, in May 2018, Adamec was living in a downtown Vancouver apartment, court documents show. The victim, John Yu, had been invited to the apartment by Adamec’s girlfriend. There was a short argument and “for some inexplicable reason,” Adamec went to the kitchen where he took out a large kitchen knife and, without any warning, stabbed Yu in the chest, Justice Carla Forth wrote in the decision.

Yu was left bleeding badly. Rather than help him, Adamec simply left the apartment, the judge noted. Yu staggered outside where he collapsed, hitting his head on the ground. He was taken to hospital for emergency surgery. The knife wound was 5.6 centimetres deep, the ruling states.

“The injury was life threatening and would have been fatal without surgical intervention,” Forth wrote.

Days later, Yu could still not use one side of his body. A CT scan found a major brain bleed, requiring a craniotomy to repair.

“If this had not been operated on, Mr. Yu would have died,” Forth said.

Yu’s life has been “irrevocably changed” with post-traumatic stress disorder, lasting headaches and fatigue, and a chronic fear that someone will try to kill him with no apparent motive, the court document states.

Adamec was later arrested in Ontario. He was found guilty of aggravated assault in March.

As a youth, Adamec was suspended and expelled from schools because of his violent and unsafe behaviour, Forth wrote. He has no diagnosed mental health issues and he denied having any issues managing his emotions effectively, though he has criminal convictions for violence or threats of violence, robbery, and weapons possession going back to his teens, Forth acknowledged.

At his sentencing hearing, Adamec’s friends and family testified that he was a quiet and calm individual who shows “compassion, love and care,” but Forth countered “these attributes are far removed from the Mr. Adamec who decided to take a large kitchen knife and plunge it into Mr. Yu's chest.”

The Crown had sought a sentence of six to eight years. Adamec’s lawyer argued four to five would be fit. Taking into account sentences from similar cases, Forth handed down a sentence of five years and four months.

“His actions carry a high degree of moral blameworthiness. He used a knife when Mr. Yu was on his way out of the apartment. Mr. Yu was not a threat to Mr. Adamec. He was an unsuspecting, defenseless individual who had no idea that Mr. Adamec would suddenly turn violent. Mr. Yu had no opportunity to defend himself,” Forth wrote.

At sentencing, Adamec apologized to Yu but Forth said he also spoke of wishing to put the matter behind himself.

“I am concerned with Mr. Adamec's lack of remorse and insight. It shows he is an increased risk to members of the public,” she wrote. “I am not convinced he understands the damage he has caused to Mr. Yu, nor that is he prepared to accept responsibility for his actions.”