Edmontonian jailed following soccer beating

TONY BLAIS,QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:52 PM ET

EDMONTON - An Edmonton man was jailed Monday for his part in the vicious swarming of a city soccer dad after a rowdy game led to a racially fuelled altercation.

However, the sentencing judge also strongly criticized the victim of the June 5, 2008, attack for "taunting" opposing soccer players with a "racial and religious slur."

Manpreet Grewal, 20, was sentenced to 12 months in jail, to be followed by

12 months probation, after earlier being convicted of aggravated assault.

Court of Queen'\'s Bench Justice Brian Burrows ruled it was aggravating that it was a group attack which targeted victim Dean Smithıs head and resulted in serious injury.

"The group becomes a significantly more dangerous and violent entity than the accumulation of the violent propensities of its individual members might be expected to produce," said Burrows.

Yet, the judge also slammed Smith, noting the attack followed a verbal altercation in which the last words spoken by the victim were a harsh racial and religious slur which were obviously extremely provocative." Burrows ruled the provocation was the most significant of the mitigating factors in the case and said he found it "incredible" that Smith, 44, claimed he did not intend his comment to be a serious racial and religious slur.

"That a man a generation older than these 18 and 19-year-old soccer players would say such a taunting thing to them was very far beyond foolish. It was contemptible.

"That it provoked the violent response it did is certainly not acceptable, but it is far from surprising, he said.

Burrows said it was also mitigating that Grewal had no prior criminal record, and has been portrayed as a young man with strong family and community support who goes to college, works and volunteers in his spare time.

He also noted Grewal says he experienced racism and discrimination from kindergarten to high school and claimed Smith's words triggered prejudicial memories.

Court has heard Grewal was one of several players on a Mill Woods Meadows under-18 squad who chased Smith after a heated verbal confrontation at the end of a physical game against a La Perle team and then punched and kicked Smith when he tripped and fell down.

Smith testified he got into a shouting match with several players and admitted he got "frustrated" and a "little angry" after being called "short" and a "white faggot." Smith said he then said the following words to Grewal.

"I told him I was going to rip his f---ing do-rag off his head and shove it up his ass if he didn't shut up," said Smith.

Smith said he "possibly" knew Grewal's patka, a smaller turban used by Sikhs in sporting events ­ was a religious headdress, but maintained he was not racially motivated.

Court heard Smith suffered a broken nasal passage and five fractures on the right side of his face, which required the insertion of metal plates and plastic surgery.

Four youths were also charged in the swarming attack, however their charges were later withdrawn.


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