RCMP on the scene of a stabbing scene on Yale Road downtown Chilliwack in the early hours of Saturday, March, 3, 2018 as posted by Jordan Jiang via Twitter for CTV.

Knife attack on Chilliwack homeless man garners five-year sentence

Robert Giesbrecht, 35, has already been in custody nearly two years since downtown incident

The 35-year-old man who sliced a Chilliwack homeless man’s face with a utility knife in the downtown area two years ago will remain in custody and face a total of four more years of court supervision.

Robert Matthew Giesbrecht violently slashed the face of a male at the corner of Yale Road and Nowell Street on March 3, 2018, leaving the man with what seemed at the time to be severe injuries and is indeed a lifelong scar.

The victim, James Shea, survived and was actually not seriously injured but the attack was taken seriously by emergency personnel at the time given the amount of blood at the scene.

Giesbrecht has been in custody since his arrest that night, so was given credit for time served, at the usual rate of 1.5-to-one, of approximately two years and 11 months.

Crown asked for a global sentence of close to five years in jail, minus time served, amounting to an additional sentence of two years less a day plus three years probation. Defence asked for the man with a history of violent assaults and mental health issues to be released on time served.

In court on Feb. 12, Judge Andrea Ormiston agreed with Crown’s submission that he should serve the additional time suggested by Crown followed by probation, but she ordered two years rather than three.

A stay of proceedings was issued for a separate incident involving a charge of aggravated assault and assault with a weapon for a stabbing near the Tim Hortons by the Yale Road overpass on Jan. 11, 2018 during which the victim suffered a collapsed lung.

There was a question about identification of Giesbrecht as the offender in that case, which Crown could not prove, so they took the plea for the slashing two months later and dropped the charges on that file.

The incident that led to the sentence on Feb. 11, 2020 occurred when Giesbrecht pulled up to a group of people camped on the street in front of Auld Phillips on Yale Road on March 3, 2018. He asked a woman for crack cocaine and when she told him to get lost, he became angry.

He drove away, came back and with a large utility knife attacked the group, eventually slashing Shea from cheek to cheek.

Giesbrecht was charged with aggravated assault and assault with a weapon.

• RELATED: Two dead following stabbing in downtown Chilliwack in 2017

• RELATED: Targeted stabbing at notorious Chilliwack apartment complex


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