A personal support worker caught on video repeatedly punching an elderly man in the head apologized to the man's family Thursday, saying he would accept whatever sentence the court decided.
Jie Xiao pleaded guilty in July to one count of assault in connection with the attack four months earlier on 89-year-old Georges Karam.
Xiao, speaking in Mandarin through a translator at his sentencing hearing Thursday, told Karam's family he was "deeply sorry for what I did."
"I admit all my guilt and I will accept what sentence your honour imposes," he told the Ottawa courtroom.
Xiao, a 44-year-old permanent resident who arrived in Canada from China in 2005, told the court he did not intend to hurt Karam, but that in that moment he failed to remember his duty to his client.
"I have used the wrong way of doing things," he said.
Xiao bowed to the family as he finished speaking, and Reghida Karam, the daughter of the victim, murmured "thank you" from her seat in court.
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Victim punched 10 times, video showed
The attack took place inside Karam's room at Garry J. Armstrong Home, a city-run long-term care facility in Ottawa.
Karam suffers from dementia, and his family told CBC Radio's As It Happens earlier this year that they had installed a surveillance camera in his room after Karam suffered cuts and bruises on his face.
Video from the camera showed Xiao punching Karam 10 times in the chin, assistant Crown attorney Riad Tallim told the court.
Tallim called the action "reprehensible" and "disturbing" but noted Xiao was co-operative and expressed genuine remorse.
The Crown recommended three months jail and 18 months probation with conditions — including rehabilitation for anger management — and no contact with the Karam family.
The lawyer for the defence suggested a conditional sentence to be served in the community, saying Xiao was a suitable candidate for rehabilitation.
Apology sincere, says victim's son
Daniel Nassrallah, Karam's grandson, told the court his trust in the long-term care system has been shattered, and that he now watches surveillance video of his grandfather constantly for fear of another assault.
Karam's son, Antoine Karam, had asked the court to "send the strongest message possible" for what he called a "senseless and ruthless act." But after Xiao spoke at the hearing, Karam said he felt the apology was sincere and he was open to the possibility of a conditional sentence.
The assault was one of several that spurred Ontario's Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to issue a blanket order to the City of Ottawa, demanding it come up with plans to improve its care home operations.
Justice Julie Bourgeois said she would deliver her sentence on Oct. 20