The owner of a downtown Nelson business suffered severe physical and emotional trauma after she tried to stop a shoplifter in 2017.
Linda Randall, who owns The Tickle Trunk at 645 Baker St., told a Nelson courtroom Friday she has lived with chronic pain and mental health issues since an altercation with Nicole Brown on Aug. 8, 2017.
Randall approached Brown, whom she spotted stealing a $10 pair of eyelashes. Brown at first attempted to flee but was held by Randall.
The court heard how Brown, now 31 years old, began assaulting Randall, who had hair ripped out and suffered a concussion and whiplash. She was also later diagnosed with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.
In her victim impact statement, Randall told Judge Paul Dohm she has since attended over 125 physical therapy sessions and 37 visits with a psychologist.
“I feel like my quality of life has diminished and the best years of my life have been taken from me,” she said.
Dohm agreed, and sentenced Brown to a conditional discharge, two years of probation, 60 hours of community service and an extensive no-contact order after she had been found guilty of assault causing bodily harm and theft under $5,000.
That sentence was in line with recommendations made by Crown counsel Cheryl-Anne Pine and defence counsel Blair Suffredine.
“Her actions were completely uncalled for and unjustified,” said Dohm in his ruling, adding the assault was in a way an attack on all small business owners in Nelson.
Randall said she has had experienced significant financial losses following the assault, but Dohm said he could not award restitution as he did not believe Brown could pay.
Dohm’s decision was also mitigated by Brown not having a previous criminal record. He noted Brown’s own struggles following a motor vehicle accident that caused Brown to suffer PTSD and fibromyalgia, a painful disorder that affects sleep, memory and emotional and physical health.
Brown expressed remorse in her statement to the court.
“I understand her struggle and admire her dedication to her health…,” said Brown. “We all have our struggles. I will do my best to do better.”
Randall said after the assault she missed seven-to-eight months of work, was forced to stop dancing recreationally and put an end to her other job as a home builder. When the assault occurred she had been in the middle of a renovation on a home she intended to move into in the winter of 2017.
The house, she told the court, remains empty and unfinished.
Randall meanwhile has owned The Tickle Trunk for 15 years, but since the assault she no longer feels at peace downtown.
“I still look over my shoulder in public and startle easily at noise…,” she said. “Until there is responsibility for the damages I have incurred I will continue to feel threatened.”
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