Sorry hockey dad cries in court

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Sorry hockey dad cries in court

Sep. 28, 2006. 07:24 AM



The hockey dad who attacked a coach during a game because he wouldn't let his 8-year-old son play broke down in tears at his assault trial yesterday.

"I'm sorry," Bradley Desrocher, 48, apologized for his crying, one of at least six times he wept while the coach he assaulted was on the stand.

Meanwhile his lawyer, Todd White, grilled victim Mark Teskey, 46, head coach of the AAA minor atom Jr. Canadiens, about inconsistencies between his police statement and his testimony about being attacked.

Desrocher has pleaded guilty in provincial court to assault, but not guilty to the more serious charge of assault causing bodily harm.

The attack took place in Chesswood Arenas, near Finch Ave. W. and Dufferin St., during a Sunday game on Jan. 16, 2005.

Teskey said that Desrocher jumped over a glass partition separating the bench from the stands and screamed at him for not allowing his son to play.

Teskey said he was in fear for his life but that he nonetheless continued to coach the game.

Later someone, whom he assumed was Desrocher, choked him with both hands from behind, causing him to black out, he said

Teskey, a volunteer coach who manages a construction company, said he'd had previous confrontations with Desrocher, a civil engineer who himself has coached kids.

White asked Teskey why he never told police that he had been choked with both hands, only mentioning being held in an arm grip, nor that he had blacked out.

Teskey said he'd never before given a police statement. "I was in shock."

The trial continues today.

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T.O. hockey dad used `extreme force': Judge

Enraged father choked son's coach Sentencing hearing set for Dec. 11

Faces up to 18 months in Dec. 18 sentencing

Sep. 30, 2006. 01:00 AM



A Toronto hockey dad convicted yesterday for a bench-side choking attack on his 8-year-old son's coach is facing up to 18 months in jail for his outburst.

Bradley Desrocher, a 48-year-old civil engineer, admitted earlier this week to attacking volunteer coach Mark Teskey in front of his minor atom squad at a north Toronto hockey rink in January 2005.

Then, he pleaded guilty to simple assault, but not the more serious charge of assault causing bodily harm.

The Crown pressed ahead with the more serious charge, and bore the onus of proving Teskey's injury was "more than transient and trifling" in order to meet the legal threshold for the charge.

Their case was buoyed by evidence given by Teskey who says he has been suffering intense neck and shoulder pain since the attack ? documented in photographs of his swollen neck submitted as evidence.

However, in his closing statements yesterday, Desrocher's lawyer Todd White urged the judge to be critical of testimony Teskey gave about the pain he suffers, and called the coach "a witness with an agenda."

White argued that Teskey's version of the incident as he explained it on the stand was "embellished and exaggerated," and said that if Teskey's injuries were as serious as he claimed, he wouldn't have been able to continue coaching on the night of the attack.

Ontario Court Justice Frederic Campling wasn't swayed by White's argument.

"It has been proven that by applying your hands and one of your arms to Mr. Teskey's neck and upper body you used extreme force," the judge told a blank-faced Desrocher.

"It has been proven that at the time you were a very big man and a very strong man, such that others who are big and strong ... found it difficult or impossible to do anything about your assault."

The judge also said that the "enraged state" Desrocher was in may have contributed to his strength during the assault, which caused Teskey to black out.

"You were in a rage ... you saw red. I believe that figure of speech is appropriate," he said. "An assault with very great force causing even a brief loss of consciousness is one factor that, in my view, raises the interference with Mr. Teskey's health and comfort beyond the merely transient and trifling."

The judge went on to underscore the fact that the assault, which happened in Chesswood Arena, near Finch Ave. W. and Dufferin St., has had both short- and long-term consequences for Teskey.

He also said the part of the body Desrocher decided to attack added to the seriousness of the assault charge.

"A person's neck is part of the body that obviously contains the upper spine, a very complex structure.

"It is also the part of the body that contains the airway," he said. "It is a particularly vulnerable part of anyone's body to attack."

In his lengthy explanation for his decision, Campling took time to respond to defence lawyer White's suggestion that Teskey's injuries were short-term because he was able to return to the bench so soon.

"It is also evidence, I find, that Mr. Teskey did put the kids first, did want the game to go on ... out of an effort to reduce the effects of the incident on players," the judge said.

"I frankly find Mr. Teskey's perseverance with that hardship to be commendable."

Flanked by family members and other members of his coaching staff, Teskey seemed pleased by the decision, but declined to speak with reporters.

A sentencing hearing for Desrocher has been scheduled for Dec. 11.

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