Monday, August 20, 2007

Axe Attack Ruins Life

Three youths found guilty in axe attack
Chantal Eustace, CanWest News Service
August 18, 2007

Michael Levy, the Surrey teenager who was attacked with an axe last year, stared ahead from his wheelchair as three of the four young men charged with assaulting him were found guilty yesterday.

Levy was at a party at Surrey's Tynehead Hall on Oct. 28, 2006, when he was attacked -- punched and pepper sprayed -- then hit in the back of the head three times with an axe.

The near-deadly attack severed Levy's spinal cord and left him a quadriplegic.

The six-foot-one teenager -- who had planned to join the army -- didn't smile, even as his friends and family let out hushed cheers and bursts of applause.

But outside Surrey provincial court, Levy told reporters he was pleased the three teenagers were found guilty of the assault charges, which included aggravated assault with a weapon.

"I would like to see them go away for life," said Levy, 19, adding he wants his attackers punished as adults, not as youths.

"But that's probably not going to happen. With our justice system, they'll probably get a week."

He'd also like to see them do some volunteer work with quadriplegic people, he said, so they understand what they did to him.

Levy's mother, Deborah, said the guilty verdicts were good news.

"I'm ecstatic that the truth came out," she said. "It was a very traumatic, horrific thing that happened, but we have served some justice."

She said the trial, which began in April and adjourned several times because of scheduling, has been difficult on her entire family. She said she and her son cried and had a "meltdown" earlier that day.

"It's not closure," she said of yesterday's verdicts. "It's just the next step."

Levy's supporters couldn't suppress their emotions when Judge Kenneth Ball read out the three guilty verdicts shortly after 2:30 p.m. Some shed tears while others whispered "yes."

A fourth teenager was acquitted. Ball cited a lack of evidence tying him to the crime. None of the four teenagers can be named because their identities are shielded by the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

Levy's sister Crystal said she would like to see the young men tried as adults.

"I hope they ask for adult sentencing and adult time," she said. "This is not a youth crime."

Before the sentencing -- set for Sept. 10 at 9:30 a.m. -- the family plans to take a vacation and unwind.

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