OSHAWA: The man guilty of attacking a lesbian couple in an Oshawa schoolyard while their children watched in horror will spend the next four months in jail.
“This is a crime that is abhorrent to the community,” crown attorney Paul Murray said before the sentence was handed down to Mark Scott, 45, in court on May 31. Scott was convicted of assault causing bodily harm in February for bashing Jane Currie, 39, and Anji Dimitriou, 33, on Nov 3, 2008.
After leaving the courthouse, the couple embraced and celebrated. “I’m so happy we don’t have to come back here anymore. We don’t have to think about him, see him or talk about him anymore. I can’t wait to tell our kids he’s going to be behind bars,” Dimitriou says.
Justice Katrina Mulligan called the assault a “violent crime,” made worse because it happened in view of children. She ordered Scott to seek counselling for anger management.
“In front of parents and children, Scott struck first intentionally, then spat on Dimitriou,” says Murray. “Spitting is a despicable, disgusting and vile act, in some ways more foul than the punch.”
Throughout the trial, Dimitriou and Currie testified that Scott called the couple “fucking dykes” and asked, “Which one of you men spoke to my kid?”
Mulligan rejected Scott’s claim that he acted in self-defence. She notes that the victim impact statements make it “clear Currie and Dimitriou feel it was a gay and lesbian motivated hate crime, which I found it wasn’t.” The attack was the culmination of a series of disputes over their children and parking spots at Oshawa’s Gordon B Attersley Public School over the course of about a year.
Scott will serve his sentence concurrently with one-year probation. He is also ordered to submit a DNA sample.
The guilty verdict follows two years of court proceedings that took a toll on Currie, Dimitriou and their family. Dimitriou says the children are still traumatized by what they saw that day. “Our 10-year-old arrived on scene during the attack. She is still in counselling.”
Murray had asked for a 12-month sentence. Defence lawyer Mark Jacula asked for a suspended sentence.
At one point, Scott stood and told the court he “should have made better decisions.” He will now have to “look at himself” to ensure such an attack never happens again. “I just want to be a better person.”
During a break, Scott’s mother told Xtra, “He’s my son and I’ll always love him.” She wouldn’t provide her name. “I’m proud of what he said in there.”
Mulligan called Scott’s testimony “ridiculous” but felt his apology and remorse is sincere.
In their victim impact statements, the women described feeling empowered by the community reaction. “We were called heroes by people all over the world,” Dimitriou writes.
Mulligan says that while Currie and Dimitriou used the spotlight to rally support, Scott’s family fled the media’s glare. “Scott’s wife and three children were torn apart by the media attention. She packed up and moved to Alberta to get away.”