WINNIPEG – A Winnipeg man has been found guilty of aggravated assault after a vicious attack with a hammer left a teen with life-altering injuries.
Jerry Robert Kipling appeared before the court by video, where judge Murray Thompson read his decision highlighting the vicious assault that took place outside a downtown pizzeria.
He described how the attacker struck with such force the handle broke off, leaving the claw end of the hammer embedded in the 15-year-old’s skull.
Court heard there were no eyewitnesses to the crime and the victim could not recall details of the attack.
The incident was captured by multiple cameras but the images didn’t provide enough detail to positively identify the perpetrator.
Images of the attack were later shared by police with the public at which point Kipling’s aunt and cousin came forward and took the stand identifying him as the attacker seen on video.
“That made the case difficult from a defense point of view,” said Mike Cook, Kipling’s defence lawyer.
Cook argued that if his client had been the person seen committing the attack, some of the victim’s blood would have inevitably been present on his client’s clothes, backpack, or shoes, all of which were taken by police and sent to forensics.
All came back with no DNA evidence linking him to the victim.
“So, I thought the science did not back up the Crown’s case but certainly the Crown relied on the family members that testified,” said Cook.
The crown argued the absence of DNA or blood on the accused was neutral given there was no struggle and only one blow. Kipling’s defence lawyer also raised issues over a large tattoo of a cross that Kipling currently has on his left forearm
“[We] froze the video and we had a close-up picture of the video and the video showed that the fellow in the restaurant did not have any tattoos on his left arm.”
Cook argued because of this, his client could not be the man in the video. Officers that arrested Kipling took the stand and testified he didn’t have the tattoo at the time of his arrest and very well could have gotten it in jail or after the attack took place.
The judge was ultimately satisfied the person on video was Kipling who will now have to wait for sentencing later this month.