Times Colonist

Man attacked dental clinic boss after being told to wait

- LOUISE DICKSON ldickson@timescolon­ist.com

A mentally ill Victoria man has been convicted of assault using a weapon for raising his arm and lunging toward the manager of the Cool Aid Dental Clinic with a can opener in his closed fist.

Sean Michael Kelly, 34, who lives at the Salvation Army, was also found guilty Tuesday of breaching a probation order. His defence lawyer, Kirk Karaszkiew­icz, did not ask for a pre-sentence report, telling provincial court Judge Evan Blake that a number of reports and assessment­s on Kelly have been made in the past. Blake said he may order a new report if he finds the previous ones are too dated. The case was adjourned to set a date for sentencing.

During the half-day trial, dental clinic manager Sydney Adair and other staff told the court about a frightenin­g incident on June 16, when an agitated and angry Kelly arrived at the clinic just before it closed for lunch and demanded immediate dental care.

Adair, 69, said she heard a disturbanc­e in the reception. Kelly was at the desk, asking the receptioni­st for a topical anaestheti­c to numb the pain in his mouth. Adair told him to come back in an hour.

Kelly’s demeanour was threatenin­g, she said. He was angry, yelling and red in the face. Adair said Kelly stepped toward her, raised his arm and made a stabbing motion downward with a can opener.

Adair heard dental assistant Michelle Mclaren, who had just returned to the reception, yell: “Sean.”

Kelly put his arm down, testified Adair. She walked by him, picked up the phone and pressed the emergency button.

As she did, Kelly threatened her. “If you ever pull a gun on me again, I’m going to get you,” she recalled him saying.

Mclaren said she saw Kelly raise his hand and swing something in his hand toward Adair. “I said, ‘Whoa, Sean.’ And he stopped,” Mclaren said.

Mclaren gave Kelly some anaestheti­c and opened the door for him to leave.

Receptioni­st Jennifer Parker said Kelly had been in the clinic on June 15 and had been behaving oddly, unable to write legibly and not talking. “He was making a spectacle of himself and entertaini­ng the waiting room,” Parker testified.

When she asked him to leave, he placed a fire extinguish­er by the door.

Kelly took the stand in his own defence, saying he does not work and is on anti-psychotic and anti-anxiety medication, and medical marijuana for arthritis. He said he did not intend to threaten or hurt anyone.

The can opener was attached to his backpack with a strap, he said. As he put on his backpack, he grasped the can opener in his right hand while he adjusted the straps.

Blake found Kelly has a number of mental health issues and acts in ways he doesn’t understand. But the judge did not accept Kelly’s explanatio­n that he was simply putting on his backpack.

“Pulling on the can opener was not a sensible way to adjust the pack,” said Blake. “I also take into account his general state of mind. He was indeed angry and frustrated.”

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