A 67-year-old man with no prior criminal record was found guilty on Friday of assault with a weapon.
The weapon used — an axe.
On Jan. 11, much of Newfoundland's east coast was in the grips of a fierce blizzard.
In St. John's, the snow was piling up, and accumulating in Anthony Leonard's driveway at 6 Lester Street.
The court was told that Leonard started taking snow from his driveway and moving it out into the street.
His neighbour didn't like this, and asked Leonard to stop. The neighbour knew that when the plow came by, the snow Leonard was putting on the pavement would end up in front of his driveway.
He told Leonard that if he didn't stop, he would start shoveling the snow back into Leonard's driveway.
That's when snow rage hit Leonard.
He went into his home and got an axe. His wife advised him to stay inside, but he didn't listen.
Leonard went back outside and confronted the neighbour. While he didn't hit him with the axe, just having it during the confrontation was enough to break the law.
Leonard claimed it was self-defence, but Judge James Walsh didn't buy it.
The Crown wanted Leonard to get 60 days house arrest and 18 months probation.
Judge Walsh felt that was too harsh.
He noted Leonard did not have a record, has been a law-abiding citizen and this was "an isolated incident in a 67-year-old's life."
Leonard said he was very sorry.
Walsh said, "You should have listened to your wife."
But the judge said a message needs to be conveyed to the general public, that this kind of behaviour cannot be tolerated.
Walsh gave Leonard a conditional discharge, meaning he won't have a criminal record, and placed him on probation for a year.