Guilty plea in unprovoked attack: Assault believed to be racially motivated

An Abbotsford man who struck a 63-year-old across the face with a liquor bottle and yelled ethnic slurs has pleaded guilty to assault.

An assault took place at this site near Fish Trap Creek last April.

An assault took place at this site near Fish Trap Creek last April.

An Abbotsford man who struck a 63-year-old across the face with a liquor bottle and yelled derogatory ethnic comments last April has pleaded guilty to assault.

Daronne Malcome Dobni, 30, was initially charged with assault with a weapon but pleaded guilty to the lesser charge during a brief appearance in Abbotsford provincial court. A sentencing hearing will be set for a later date.

The incident occurred on April 26, 2011, when Dobni, who is Caucasian, approached a group of four Indo-Canadian men sitting on benches in the area of Old Yale Road and Mitchell Street, near Fishtrap Creek Park.

He yelled obscenities and racial slurs, and struck one of the men across the face with a liquor bottle, knocking the victim to the ground.

Dobni then fled on foot along Dehavilland Drive.

A police canvass of the area turned up several people who reported having previously heard racial slurs from a person matching the suspect’s description.

In the days that followed, some neighbours took photos of the man when they saw him out in public, and gave them to police.

Dobni, who has no previous criminal record, was confirmed as the suspect, and was arrested and charged.

At the time, charges related to the commission of a hate crime were considered, but those were never laid.