Jail time sought for man convicted of assaulting prime minister

If the Crown has its way, the man who threw gravel at Canada’s prime minister during a campaign stop in London will serve time behind bars.

Shane Marshall appeared in London court Monday for a sentencing hearing in the case. The 26-year-old pleaded guilty in March to general assault, a lesser charge than the offence of assault with a weapon, which he was originally charged with.

Standing before Justice Kevin McHugh, wearing a white button down dress shirt and slacks, Marshall said he was sorry for the September 6, 2021 incident.

“I apologize for my actions,” the St. Thomas man said.

His lawyer, Luke Reidy, argued for a suspended sentence, noting that Marshall had no criminal record before the incident and had learned his lesson. Reidy also stated that sending his client to jail would not serve as a deterrent for anyone else. He said that Marshall, who has been diagnosed with attention deficit disorder, acted impulsively when he picked up a handful of gravel and threw it at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

However, Assistant Crown Attorney Jeremy Carnegie took a more serious view of the incident, calling it an “assault on democracy.”

“Violence against any candidate hurts democracy as a whole,” Carnegie told the court.

He asked for a 30 day jail sentence to be followed by 12 months probation.

Following the two submissions from the defence and Crown, the case was put over to next Monday. McHugh will deliver his sentencing decision at that time.

Marshall was an official with the Elgin Middlesex London People’s Party of Canada (PPC) riding association when Trudeau came to the city for a Liberal campaign whistle stop at London Co-Operative Brewing Company on Princess Avenue. As he was boarding his campaign bus, he was pelted with a handful of gravel. Trudeau looked startled for a moment, briefly glanced over his shoulder at the crowd, then boarded the bus. Trudeau was not hurt.

Marshall was arrested and charged five days later and the PPC removed him from his post within the riding association.

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