Punching an election polling station worker who had asked him to put on a face-covering during COVID-19 restrictions has landed an anti-masker an assault conviction.
And Emelio Pedicino could also find himself behind bars, as the prosecution is looking for a custodial sentence for the first-time offender, whose actions also triggered a “soft lockdown” at a northwest Calgary elementary school.
In a written decision posted online, provincial court Judge Bruce Fraser rejected Pedicino’s claim he only slapped the unnamed worker when the victim placed his hands on him to stop him from entering the polling station.
Fraser said Pedicino punched the man without provocation, causing him serious enough injuries that he lost his regular job.
The victim suffered a fractured nose and concussion, as well as vision problems related to the head injury, which meant he could no longer spend time in front of a computer and is now training for a different career, the judge noted.
Instead, the judge found the victim stood in front of the fast-approaching anti-masker and told him he would be required to cover up to enter the voting station before he was punched.
Fraser also dismissed Pedicino’s claim he simply slapped the complainant.
“A slap could not have caused the extensive damage the complainant suffered. It had to be a punch with considerable force behind it.”
The judge noted the commotion caused by Pedicino’s actions caused the principal at the school to take emergency actions.
“The principal had taken a number of Grade 1 students outside in the courtyard where the entrance to the gym and voting centre was set up after noon. She took them inside when she heard angry voices and shouting in the courtyard,” Fraser said.
“She arranged a soft lockdown because she was concerned there was a danger and kept everyone inside.”
Crown prosecutor Kenna Morris has suggested a six- to eight-month jail term is appropriate, while defence counsel Greg Janzen is proposing a non-custodial sentence.
Fraser will hear further submissions when the case returns to court March 9.