June 18th, 2024

Bear spray assault leads to month-long jail sentence


By Delon Shurtz on July 7, 2021.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

On a cold October day, at about 4:45 in the morning, Susan Leigh Stabs Down approached a group of people which had gathered at a gas station on 6 Avenue South downtown.
Stabs Down, 45, knew one of the individuals well, and after a brief discussion with the other woman, Stabs Down attacked her with a can of bear spray.
“They had a brief exchange between them, at which time Miss Stabs Down reached down into her pocket of her coat and pulled out a can of bear spray and sprayed her in the face for two to three seconds,” Crown Prosecutor Bruce Ainscough explained last week in Lethbridge provincial court, where Stabs Down pleaded guilty to a charge of assault with a weapon.
Stabs Down left the area, and her victim ran to the YWCA across the street to wash her face. Employees called police, and while they couldn’t immediately find Stabs Down, she was arrested some time later.
Stabs Down also pleaded guilty to one count of failure to comply with release conditions. When she was released from custody Oct. 29 on the assault charge, she was prohibited from possessing any weapons, including knives and bear spray. However, at about 8 a.m. on June 16, police were called to an “encampment” which had been built under a slide at a park on 23 Street North, where they found two people asleep under a blanket. Stabs Down was one of the individuals, and she was arrested on outstanding warrants.
During a search police found a folding knife in her possession, in contravention of her earlier release conditions.
Stabs Down, who court was told has a criminal record, which includes some violence-related offences, was sentenced to 30 days in jail for the assault and placed on probation for one year. She was also sentenced to one day in jail for breaching her release conditions, which she will serve concurrently with the 30 days.

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