He’s on a cru­sade so ‘vic­tims aren’t vic­tims a se­cond time’

The Hamilton Spectator - - CANADA & WORLD - SID­HARTHA BAN­ER­JEE

MON­TREAL — Dan­nick Les­sard feels vic­tim­ized by the jus­tice sys­tem.

In Oc­to­ber 2012, the Que­bec man took nine bul­lets out­side a bar in an at­tempt on his life.

Ear­lier this year, his al­leged at­tacker, who was al­ready serv­ing life for an­other mur­der, was granted a stay on the charge of at­tempt­ing to mur­der Les­sard.

The rea­son for the pro­ceed­ings be­ing dropped: a 2016 Supreme Court rul­ing that sets strict time lim­its on crim­i­nal cases get­ting to trial.

Les­sard said he’d an­tic­i­pated the out­come and had ac­cepted the Que­bec Su­pe­rior Court de­ci­sion that ended the case against Ryan Wolf­son.

“He wouldn’t have been given more time, so for me I would have liked to have brought it to a close: the per­son who (al­legedly) at­tacked me is in jail, I’m mov­ing on to other things,” Les­sard rea­soned.

But his feel­ings be­gan to change as he con­sid­ered the ab­sur­dity of the out­come.

“I thought that it makes no sense that I took nine bul­lets and the per­son who (al­legedly) as­saulted me can get out of it so eas­ily,” Les­sard told The Cana­dian Press.

“Yes, I know he’s still in prison, but you can’t ab­sorb nine bul­lets ... and come out of it with a stay of pro­ceed­ings.”

None of the al­le­ga­tions in the case have been proven in court.

Les­sard, who turns 39 later this month, says he has noth­ing against the Supreme Court rul­ing deal­ing with court de­lays — but he doesn’t be­lieve it should ap­ply to more se­ri­ous, vi­o­lent of­fences.

Now, Les­sard is on a per­sonal cru­sade of sorts “so that vic­tims aren’t vic­tims a se­cond time.”

“When you com­mit a se­ri­ous crime against a per­son, if it takes six years for the case to be heard, then it takes six years,” he said.

Les­sard had fin­ished play­ing in a semi-pro hockey game for the nowde­funct Corn­wall River Kings on that fate­ful day in Oc­to­ber 2012 and had been dropped off in Mirabel for his other job at a bar.

Hours later he would be fight­ing for his life after a masked fig­ure at­tempted to gun him down out­side his work­place.

How he es­caped re­mains a mys­tery to him. Les­sard said he had just enough time to arch out of the way as the first vol­ley of bul­lets came his way.

He was shot three time in the right shoul­der, three in the ch­est and once in the thigh, el­bow and lower back be­fore he found cover in­side the bar.

Les­sard, who was re­leased from hos­pi­tal in De­cem­ber 2012, said he feels vic­tim­ized by the ju­di­cial sys­tem but is happy the Crown has ap­pealed the court’s de­ci­sion to stay the case against Wolf­son.

RYAN REMIORZ, THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

Dan­nick Les­sard was shot nine times in Oc­to­ber 2012. His al­leged at­tacker was granted a stay ear­lier this year.

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