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18-month conditional sentence for 2020 Richmond mall stabbings

The victim received four stab wounds in the head, 10 in the back and two in his chest.
The court heard Steven Alexander Romine-Le has paid for his own counselling and is now employed.

A man who pleaded guilty to assault causing bodily harm in a Richmond Centre Mall stranger attack where a man suffered 16 stab wounds has been given an 18-month conditional sentence.

Steven Alexander Romine-Le, 28, is one of three people charged in connection with the Nov. 1, 2020 incident where a man coming out of the mall was attacked with a knife and baton.

Vancouver Provincial Court Judge Nancy Adams called the crime a “horrific assault.”

She said it was an “unprovoked assault on an innocent person.”

Crown prosecutor Janelle Khan had asked Adams for a sentence of one-year jail and one year’s probation.

Adams did agree to a year of probation.

The judge said the victim had come out of the mall after buying a gift card when he was set upon.

He received four stab wounds in the head, 10 in the back and two in his chest.

Adams also heard the man was beaten with a baton.

He suffered a cut to his liver and a punctured lung.

“He felt like his head had exploded,” Adams said, describing how the victim tried to crawl away under the viciousness of the blows raining down on him.

“Blood was coursing down his face, across his eyes and out his ears,” Adams said. “His life has been altered by the head injuries.”

Khan said the victim did not know the attackers.

Romine-Le was initially charged with three counts of aggravated assault, robbery and attempted murder.

The assault causing bodily harm charge to which Romine-Le pleaded guilty July 21 is a lesser included charge for aggravated assault.

Intoxicated and in blackout

Romine-Le said he was intoxicated and in blackout at the time of the incident.

“He bears the responsibility for finding out what he did in blackout,” said Adams, who noted he had been entrenched in a criminal lifestyle at the time.

Romine-Le, Adams said, has a “very high degree of moral blameworthiness.”

The judge said Romine-Le had a difficult childhood with his parents having substance abuse issues.

She said the Saulteau First Nation member does not remember the incident having been intoxicated on alcohol and methamphetamine at the time.

Defence lawyer Connor Muldoon told Adams Romine-Le has worked hard to turn his life around since the incident.

He said Romine-Le has paid for his own counselling, is now employed and has been clean and sober for a year.

Muldoon asked for a conditional sentence order and probation.

Adams said Romine-Le’s expressions of remorse were debatable but said his actions to rehabilitate himself show contrition.

The other charges were stayed.

Second conviction

Romine-Le was one of three people charged in connection with the case.

On June 28, Vancouver Provincial Court Judge Harbans Dhillon gave Charles Norman Teneycke, 39, an 18-month conditional sentence after pleading guilty two weeks earlier to aggravated assault. He was also charged with robbery but that charge was stayed.

A woman was charged in the mall attack as well as another with Romine-Le but those charges were stayed.

She and another woman, also Nov. 1, were charged with assault of a woman in Vancouver. Those charges were also stayed.

Both women, along with Romine-Le, were also charged with another Nov. 1, 2020 attack on a man. Those charges were also stayed.