Holiday spirit was in short supply between two former friends last Christmas, the pair forgoing the traditional exchange of gifts for an exchange of blows instead.
Wesley Hrycak’s decision to grab a baseball bat to inflict his damage is what landed him in Sarnia Court however facing an assault charge. A joint submission from Crown and Defence recommended a conditional discharge which would allow Hrycak, 32, to avoid a criminal record.
Defence Lawyer Joseph Stoesser outlined how there’d been a falling out between Hrycak and his friend stemming from the friend having a number of Hrycak’s possessions at his house. The pair had several tense encounters in public leading up to Christmas Day.
Things finally boiled over when the friend showed up at Hrycak’s Mayfair Drive home 10:30 pm Christmas night. No good tidings occurred during a brief verbal exchange before Hrycak charged the man with a baseball bat. Hrycak landed blows to his hand and head during the ensuing struggle before the man escaped the house.
“He understands that his behaviour was criminal in nature,” says Stoesser. “But it was borne out of a relationship with this person showing up at his house at 10:30 on Christmas night and Mr. Hrycak was scared… This is not a situation where Mr. Hrycak sought out (man).”
The man showing up at Hrycak’s house and no prior criminal record were factors in Hrycak’s favour, despite the disproportionate response. Crown Attorney Aniko Coughlan shared a victim impact statement describing the incident as being “upsetting to him (man)… He’s still struggling with some issues with respect to this event.”
“I really liked the guy and felt that I was a friend to him,” says Hrycak. But he believes his former friend is “aiming down. He’s aiming low in his life and I think he can do better.”
“That’s not a good thing that I did to him and I feel bad about that. I think he can be awesome. I think he can be a really good guy and I want him to have a good life. So I’ll just steer clear of him and that’s the best I can do. Thank you,” says Hrycak.
Hrycak will be steering clear of the man by court order, one of the terms of the 12 month probation included with his conditional discharge. He’ll also take counselling and can’t have any weapons.
“Obviously this incident has had an effect that is significant from the effect of (man),” says Justice Deborah Austin. “Despite the fact that I recognize the impact on (man) of the trauma of this incident, on Christmas Day no less, all of the circumstances that have been pointed to the court as well as the mitigating factors justify my respect for the joint submission that has been achieved here.”
Alex Kurial, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Independent