Psych assessment ordered for bus driver attacker
A man convicted of brutally assaulting an Edmonton bus driver will undergo a 60-day psychiatric assessment to see if he should be declared a dangerous or long-term offender.
Gary Mattson, 25, pleaded guilty last month to aggravated assault in the attack on Tom Bregg, 58, in December 2009.
In granting the psychiatric assessment Monday, provincial court Judge Harry Bridges said Mattson's actions that day warranted dangerous offender consideration.
He noted Mattson has a lengthy criminal record and described the attack as "brutal and senseless."
The attack occurred in northeast Edmonton during the morning rush hour on Dec. 3, 2009.
Mattson got on Bregg's No. 10 bus and soon became embroiled in a verbal dispute over a bus fare that preceded the physical assault.
In the on-board video, Mattson is seen punching Bregg several times. He then drags Bregg out of the driver's seat, throws him outside the bus door, and then repeatedly stomps on his face before running away.
Bregg wasn't in court Monday morning, but his friend and president of the Amalgamated Transit Union, Stu Litwinowich, was there to hear the judge's decision.
"[The judge] took it to heart … and he realizes, of course, that yes, based on the history of this fellow, this Mattson fellow, he's got a history of violence and he's a dangerous offender, or there's a possibility," Litwinowich said.
Earlier this month, Bregg submitted a written victim impact statement to court, which speaks to how drastically his life has changed since the day of the attack.
"I have lost six months of my life and my trust in humanity," Bregg wrote. "The stress on my family has been incredible. They supported me and cared for me from the moment I was brought to the hospital in near-dead condition to the present."
Bregg suffered brain damage and lost sight in his left eye. He also suffers from poor depth perception, memory loss, balance problems and has trouble sleeping. It is unlikely he will ever drive a bus again.
Mattson also pleaded guilty to a charge of assaulting a police officer in the same incident.