Daniel Johnson of Conception Bay South was sentenced to two years, with three years’ probation, Wednesday in provincial court in St. John’s for brutally attacking a man in September 2011. — Photo by Rosie Gillingham/The Telegram
The beating was so brutal, the victim tried to lock himself in the bathroom to get away from the blows.
Now, his attacker is the one getting locked up.
Daniel Johnson was sentenced to two years in jail, with three years’ probation, in provincial court in St. John’s Wednesday.
The 39-year-old admitted to the offence, which involved a vicious attack on a man Johnson didn’t even know because he had heard the man was having an affair with his friend’s girlfriend.
In handing down the sentence, Judge Robert Hyslop called the assault “savage and brutal.”
It happened Sept. 14, 2011.
Johnson had been drinking most of the day with a group of people, including his friend, and had used cocaine when the man came in the house.
An argument broke out when it was revealed his friend’s girlfriend had been cheating on him with the man.
Minutes later, Johnson grabbed the man, who had been sitting on the couch, and hit him numerous times with a three-foot-long metal bar.
The man managed to grab the bar and throw it out the door and into the woods.
Johnson then repeatedly punched the man, who managed to crawl to the bathroom and lock the door.
But Johnson smashed down the door and continued to punch and kick him.
His friend — who Johnson said he thought he was helping — even tried to stop the attack.
A woman also tried to intervene, but Johnson hit her, giving her a bloody nose.
Johnson finally left, leaving the man badly injured in a pool of blood. Police and an ambulance were called.
The man was taken to hospital, where he received treatment for a fractured leg, which required surgery, injuries to his shoulders and a large gash on the head, which needed several stitches to close the wound.
He was in hospital for about a week.
The judge said the most aggravating factor in the incident was the degree of violence used in “the relentless pursuit and attack” on the man, along with the fact that the assault was unprovoked.
“There was no excuse for this violent attack,” Hyslop said.
While the assault on the woman “pales in comparison” to the attack on the man, Hyslop commended the woman for her courageous efforts to try to stop Johnson.
The judge also took a breach of court orders seriously.
“It was far from technical. He was quite intoxicated,” Hyslop said. “It’s not like he was caught opening a bottle of wine for his guests.”
Johnson pleaded guilty to aggravated assault against a man he didn’t know, assault causing bodily harm against a woman who tried to break up the fight and breaching a court order for failing to abstain from alcohol.
As part of the sentence, Hyslop recommended that Johnson — who first began drinking at age 11 — take part in treatment programs for substance abuse and anger management while in prison.
“People who ingest hard drugs with the combination of alcohol have to realize the consequences,” he said.
The sentence was in line with what Crown prosecutor Wendy Zdebiak had suggested.
Defence lawyer Arnold Hussey had asked the judge to consider a year in prison with a period of probation.
While Johnson has a criminal record — which includes convictions for uttering threats and assault — it marks the first time he will spend a lengthy time behind bars.
Knowing he would being going to jail, Johnson, before proceedings began, hugged his girlfriend and son, who were sitting behind him in the courtroom.
At the end of proceedings, as he was being handcuffed by a sheriff’s officer, Johnson turned to the woman and said, “I love you.”
“I love you too,” the woman replied.
The woman and boy left the courtroom sniffing and wiping tears from their eyes.