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Two year sentence for 'cowardly' assault on Penticton man

It was described as a brutal and cowardly attack by Crown counsel, and a Penticton man will spend the next two years behind bars for it.

Anthony Leonard Samuelson, 20, was found guilty of aggravated assault and assault with a weapon in an incident that occurred on Sept. 7, 2012 where he smashed another man in the head with a rock that was placed inside of a sock.

During sentencing at Penticton provincial court on Tuesday, Crown counsel John Swanson said Samuelson was yelling at a group of men unknown to him while walking near the Penticton Art Gallery, headed to the Barking Parrot. This boiled over into an argument between Samuelson and Michael Ricciardi, 31. Swanson said Samuelson "ambushed" Ricciardi with the crudely created weapon leaving him with a gash in his head that required seven staples and after effects including concussion-type symptoms. Defence council was asking for a suspended sentence while Crown lobbied for a much stiffer three to four year sentence in a federal penitentiary. Swanson said it was only by luck that Ricciardi wasn't killed.

"Violence against people using public parks and sidewalks needs to be denounced and not tolerated," said Swanson.

A pre-sentence report and psychiatric evaluation provided to the court after Samuelson was found guilty during his trial in December showed he has a serious problem with alcohol. Samuelson appeared by video from the Kamloops Regional Correctional Centre offering an apology to the victim, who was not present in the court room, and said he also has a written apology he would like to provide the man.

Judge Gregory Koturbash said in his decision that he realizes the difficulties Samuelson had growing up without much guidance or someone to teach him a "moral compass." The judge noted he had concerns sentencing Samuelson to anything more than two years, which would land him a federal penitentiary.

"Given your age and the challenges you have faced you might come out in a worse position you are now," said Koturbash.

It is why he decided on a two years less a day sentence putting him in a provincial jailĀ  which also allowed the judge to impose a three-year probation on Samuelson. Among the conditions he must abide by will include not to consume alcohol and a curfew for the first 12 months from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Samuelson was also sentenced on two breach of conditions to 30-days concurrent with his sentence. In those incidents he was found intoxicated and on the second breach he was in possession of a folding knife.

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