Man who targeted 15 women in Calgary spitting attacks sentenced to probation due to mental health issues

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Justin Williams spat on and swore at several women over a 10-day period in July 2020. He pleaded guilty to assault and will serve a period of probation. (Court exhibit - image credit)
Justin Williams spat on and swore at several women over a 10-day period in July 2020. He pleaded guilty to assault and will serve a period of probation. (Court exhibit - image credit)

A Calgary man who was caught on video spitting on women who were on river pathways near downtown has been handed a conditional discharge because of a recent schizophrenia diagnosis.

Over an eight-day period in July 2020, former University of Calgary Dinos basketball manager Justin Williams targeted more than a dozen women who were biking, scootering, walking and picnicking along river pathways.

In most of the cases, he spat on the women, often hitting their faces or heads. In one case, he spat on a man, who told police he believed his girlfriend was the intended target.

"Disgusting as they may be, they resulted in no lasting effects," said provincial court Judge John Bascom of the spitting attacks.

Court exhibit
Court exhibit

Originally facing 17 charges, Williams pleaded guilty in August to three counts of assault and one uttering threats offence after negotiations between defence lawyer James Mcleod and prosecutor Matt Dalidowicz.

Those conditions include that Williams, 32, report to a probation officer, continue in his treatment program and take medication as directed by his doctor.

For the first nine months, he will also have a 9 p.m. curfew.

If Williams abides by probation conditions for two years, he will not have a criminal record.

Children present during attacks

From July 10 to 18, Williams biked around the city, targeting women for abuse.

Williams shouted racial slurs at two of them.

At least two of the women were with their children when they were attacked.

Williams also pulled out a knife in two of the incidents and threatened to kill the people he had targeted.

He shouted degrading, sexist insults at some of his victims.

Williams was initially diagnosed with marijuana-induced psychosis in July, but in the following weeks — after two hospitalizations — he was then diagnosed with schizophrenia.

He is now in a three-year psychosis intervention program.

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