A 54-year-old Vancouver man has been handed a four-month conditional sentence and a year of probation after skipping out on a cab fare in Burnaby and then punching a Bonny’s Taxi driver in the head when he pressed him to pay.
Courtney Leslie Grey was in Vancouver provincial court Monday and pleaded guilty to one count of assault causing bodily harm.
The charge is connected to an incident on March 23, 2022.
That morning, Grey caught a Bonny’s Taxi from the Edmonds SkyTrain station to Burnaby Hospital, according to alleged facts presented in court by Crown prosecutor Louise Gauld.
When they arrived, the driver said the fare was $19.25, but Grey went in without paying, Gauld said.
The driver went in, too, following Grey to an elevator, and said, “Let’s go pay,” according to Gauld.
“That’s when he was punched by Mr. Grey,” she said.
The driver sustained a gash that took up to eight stitches to close and two months to heal.
“He’s still very upset,” Gauld said.
Gauld called for a six-month conditional sentence, including house arrest followed by a curfew, and then one year of probation.
She noted taxi drivers are vulnerable workers.
She also noted Grey had a criminal record, but it was dated, and he had been crime free for almost two years before the incident.
Grey’s lawyer, Susan Daniells said her client was sorry for what he did and had written an apology letter to the driver, explaining that he had thought he had enough money on his debit card for the fare.
Daniells said Grey suffers from arthritis in both knees but is unable to take the medication required to treat the condition and is therefore on disability and in chronic pain.
“He tells me that on the day this incident occurred he was feeling very rocky and not at all well mentally as well as the chronic pain,” Daniells told the court.
She called for a four-month conditional sentence with a curfew but no house arrest followed by a year of probation.
B.C. provincial court Judge Jennifer Oulton agreed to the shorter conditional sentence without house arrest, saying it was appropriate considering all of the circumstances, including Grey’s remorse.
During his conditional sentence, he must abide by a 7 p.m.-to-6 a.m. curfew; he is not allowed to consume drugs or alcohol; and he must get counselling as directed.
During his entire sentence, including probation, he is banned from contacting the cab driver and from all Bonny’s Taxis.
A charge of fraudulently obtaining transportation was stayed after Monday's sentencing.
Follow Cornelia Naylor on Twitter @CorNaylor