Nova Scotia

Man convicted in drunken rampage won't go to jail

A man who went on a violent drunken rampage through a high-rise apartment building in Halifax will not go to jail and will not have a criminal record.

Student at Dalhousie University was severely intoxicated when he entered two Halifax apartments

A man who went on a violent, drunken rampage through a high-rise apartment building in Halifax will not go to jail and will not have a criminal record after a Nova Scotia Court of Appeal ruling. (Shaina Luck/CBC)

A man who went on a violent, drunken rampage through a high-rise apartment building in Halifax will not go to jail and will not have a criminal record.

Early on the morning of Dec. 18, 2016, Pedro Espinosa Ribadeneira forced his way into an apartment in the Park Victoria apartment building in downtown Halifax. He was armed with a knife.

According to evidence at his trial, the tenant was able to grab the blade of the knife, push Ribadeneira away and escape to the lobby.

Ribadeneira then entered a second apartment where he attacked a woman asleep in her bed. It was only when her roommate came in and attacked Ribadeneira that the women were able to escape.

Police were called and they found Ribadeneira hiding in a bedroom closet.

Robadeneira would eventually plead guilty to five charges — assault with a weapon, two charges of assault causing bodily harm and two of being unlawfully in a dwelling house.

The offences were described as out of character and committed in a state of extreme inebriation.

At the time of the attacks, Robadeneira was a 19-year-old student from Ecuador who was in his second year studying commerce at Dalhousie University.

No criminal record after probation completed

He was given a conditional discharge and three years probation. Once he completes the probation, he will have no criminal record.

The Crown appealed, saying Judge Bill Digby failed to consider the principles of denunciation and deterrence in imposing such a soft sentence. The Crown had asked for five years.

But in a decision released Friday, a three-member panel of the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal disagreed.

The high court pointed to evidence introduced at Robadeneira's sentencing from two psychiatrists who said that he was severely intoxicated as a result of binge drinking and that his judgement was severely impaired. He has since stopped drinking.

"The judge essentially determined that Mr. Espinosa Ribadeneira had truly turned his life around," Justice Linda Lee Oland wrote for the three-member Appeal panel.

"In his view, the fundamental purpose of sentencing, namely the protection of the public, would be better served by a non-custodial sentence."

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