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HATCHET ATTACKER HANDED FIVE-MONTH JAIL TERM
OSOYOOS TIMES-July 13, 2011
By Paul Everest – Osoyoos Times
The man who swung a hatchet at the face of former Osoyoos councillor Allan Carswell nearly two years ago is going to jail for five months.
Louis Joseph Lemay, 52, who was found guilty on Sept. 29, 2010, of assault with a weapon and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose in connection to the September, 2009, attack on Carswell, was sentenced in Penticton provincial court on July 8 to the five-month jail term as well as two years of probation.
His sentence also includes a 10-year prohibition from possessing firearms and a requirement that he provide the court with a DNA sample.
Conditions of his probation order include having no contact or communication with Carswell or his wife and an order prohibiting Lemay from entering the Osoyoos area without the written consent of his probation officer.
Lemay’s sentencing was delayed several times because he did not comply with a court order to undergo a pre-sentencing psychological assessment.
He also failed to show up for court at least once and a warrant was issued for Lemay’s arrest.
He was believed to be residing in the Penticton area while court proceedings were ongoing.
In an email, Carswell, who has since moved away from Osoyoos, said he was happy the court proceedings have come to an end.
“It’s been so long since the Lemay incident I really have no reaction to the sentence except to be glad it’s finally finished.”
Carswell was winterizing his boat with his wife at the Haynes Point Provincial Park boat launch on Sept. 22, 2009, when Lemay approached him and swung an axe at him.
Carswell was not seriously injured and only received a few scratches to his face.
He was able to restrain Lemay until police arrived and Lemay was arrested minutes after the attack.
A witness to the attack told the Osoyoos Times after the incident that Lemay appeared when Carswell was pulling his boat out of the water.
Lemay said hello and then began complaining about being homeless and followed Carswell around as he was checking the boat on its trailer, the witness said.
After Carswell said it was time for him and his wife to leave, Lemay pulled a hatchet from his backpack and swung it at Carswell’s face.
The witness said Carswell was able to deflect the weapon with his hands.
Carswell received a few scratches to his nose but was not seriously injured, the witness said.
After Lemay swung the hatchet again, Carswell was able to get hold of his arms.
The two men struggled before Carswell was able to pin him in some bushes.
The witness said women in a nearby parking lot heard calls for help and one of them called the police on her cellphone.
The park’s caretakers and several other people arrived shortly after and eventually Lemay stopped struggling and Carswell was able to let go and walk away.
Police arrived about five minutes later.
Following the attack, police said they were concerned in the days leading up to Lemay’s confrontation with Carswell that Lemay might target someone in the community in retaliation for recent problems in his life.
Cpl. Jason Bayda, a spokesman for the Osoyoos-Oliver RCMP, said at the time that several days prior to the attack, police received a call that Lemay was attempting to enter the U.S. at the Osoyoos border crossing but was turned away.
After he was turned away, Bayda said, some of Lemay’s writings were found at the border and were passed along to police.
The writings included comments that Lemay was upset with some people in Osoyoos who had done him wrong, namely the RCMP.
The witness to the attack said Lemay blamed Carswell for his eviction from Desert Park in the summer of 2009.
Carswell is the president of the South Interior Equine Recreational Centre (SIREC), which was administering Desert Park’s equestrian facilities at the time.
Members of SIREC told the Times in 2009 that when members of their organization arrived at the park in March of that year to begin revitalization efforts on the grounds, they found Lemay staying in a stall in the main barn.
The members said they had considered allowing Lemay to stay to keep an eye on the facility when no one else was around in case of fire or theft.
They described him as tidy and said he had been in Osoyoos for at least 12 years.
At first SIREC allowed him to move into to a shed but he allegedly became abusive with SIREC members.
Eventually the Town of Osoyoos insisted that he leave the property, leading to an incident with a Town bylaw officer and police on June 30, 2009, where Lemay was charged with uttering threats.
Lemay was found guilty on that charge on Sept. 22, 2010, and was sentenced in December, 2010, to two years of probation, a firearms prohibition, a requirement that he provide the court with a DNA sample, a requirement that he stay out of Osoyoos unless passing through town and a requirement that he stays away from Osoyoos’s bylaw officers.