The man who brutally attacked an Edmonton bus driver a year ago should be sent to jail for an indeterminate amount of time, a dangerous offender hearing was told Tuesday.

Gary Edwin Mattson, 25, pleaded guilty in May to aggravated assault in the attack on Edmonton Transit driver Tom Bregg during the morning rush hour on Dec. 3, 2009.

After refusing to pay his fare, Mattson punched Bregg and pulled him out of his seat on his No. 10 bus near Victoria Trail and 139th Avenue.

He then dragged Bregg on to the sidewalk and stomped on his head 15 times, leaving the veteran driver blinded in his left eye.


Gary Mattson is shown on a security video moments before he attacked Edmonton bus driver Tom Bregg. ((Alberta Justice))

The Crown is now seeking to have Mattson declared a dangerous offender. The hearing started Tuesday in Edmonton Court of Queen's Bench.

In her opening statement, Crown prosecutor Patricia Innes stated that Mattson has a long history of violent offences, including the attack against Bregg, and he is a danger to the public.

She told the court that Mattson also has a history of drug and alcohol abuse — mostly crack cocaine and methamphetamine.

Mattson accused of punching inmate

A psychiatric assessment done on Mattson earlier this year says he poses a high or very high risk to reoffend, Innes said. She suggested there is no effective way to supervise an offender such as him if he were released into the community.


Tom Bregg, shown outside the Edmonton courthouse in June, said in a written statement he has lost his trust in humanity due to the attack he suffered at the hands of Gary Mattson. ((CBC))

Mattson's lawyer, Naeem Rauf, acknowledged that Mattson has a criminal history but said those offences were relatively minor, as his longest sentence was 90 days.

Mattson was accused of punching a fellow inmate in an incident at the remand centre. Video of the incident was shown in court.

Jeremy Chernishenko testified that he and other corrections officers intervened in the altercation. Under questioning by Rauf, Chernishenko said Mattson was immediately co-operative and easily detained and handcuffed.

Mattson sat in the prisoner's box with his arms crossed. He occasionally looked at his mother, Ruby Mattson, who appeared to be praying at one point as she sat in the public gallery.

Outside court, Ruby Mattson told reporters her son should not be sent to jail for an undetermined period.

"If Gary was let loose today … he can function out here with the rest of us," she said. "It's not like the kid's going to come out here and just murder everybody that's around him."

The hearing continues for the rest of this week and for at least two more weeks in February.

With files from the CBC's James Hees