A religious man who works with street people was sentenced to 10 months in jail Friday for kicking an acquaintance unconscious and stabbing a bystander.
Ryan Waters, 44, was agitated about losing custody of his son when he arrived for a communal lunch at the French Cultural Centre in Kelowna on Sunday, Sept. 15. He kicked Paul Ono in the head, knocking him to the ground, court heard.
People were horrified as they watched Waters boot Ono at least once more as he lay unconscious. Waters told them he had scissors and he'd stab someone, then ran south along Richter Street.
Patrick Tovell and others gave chase and caught up to him by the Carl's Jr. restaurant on Harvey Avenue. Waters tried to run across the highway but returned and challenged Tovell to a fight.
Tovell put him in a headlock and the men struggled on the ground. Waters used the scissors to stab his right bicep and chest, court heard. He was on top of Tovell when another man pulled him off.
Waters ran away again, throwing the scissors down a storm drain. Tovell resumed the chase and met up with him again outside Tonic's Pub on Ellis Street, where police arrested him.
Ono was taken to hospital with a large contusion on his head. He recalled nothing about the attack. Tovell was treated for lacerations.
Waters later complained Ono bothered him because he was picking up cigarette butts by his feet. He told his lawyer, Michael Newcombe, that Ono was harassing him.
Judge Ellen Burdett said the attack was completely unprovoked.
"Mr. Ono did nothing to him. He was standing nearby," she said. "Once Mr. Ono fell to the ground, he continued to assault him. . . . Not only did he assault Mr. Tovell, he did it using a weapon."
Waters and his wife are trying to retrieve their handicapped son from the Ministry of Children and Families. In September, she blamed him for the ministry refusing to return the boy and told Waters she was leaving him, Newcombe said.
A volunteer with Metro Church, Waters does outreach work with street people. He attends church regularly and started a floor-hockey program.
He's also a survivor of Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, where he became addicted to heroin and crack. He's an alcoholic, has a mood disorder and tends to blame others. A psychiatrist who assessed him concluded he's a moderate risk for future violence.
The judge placed him on two years of probation once he's freed. He must stay away from his victims and the French Cultural Centre, abstain from drugs and alcohol, and get counselling.