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Momangry at axe attack sentence

As she walked out of a Surrey courtroom Monday morning, Deborah Levy threw a crumpled piece of paper at the family of one of the teens involved in the swarming attack that permanently paralyzed her son Michael.

“That means nothing,” she hissed.

It was a letter from Tuan “Tony” Minh Nguyen, saying he was sorry.

“I know what I did was wrong and naive; therefore I will accept the penalty given to me,” the one-page note said in part.

A furious Levy had just learned that the 18-year-old Nguyen would spend 20 months under house arrest for his part in the Oct. 28, 2006 axe attack in Surrey that left the now 19-year-old Michael Levy a quadriplegic.

Nguyen will live at home with his family and must obey a 6 p.m. to 4 a.m. curfew.

A second 18-year-old involved in the assault, Robert Alexander Green, got two years less a day on top of the one year he has already spent in custody awaiting trial.

Green will be able to serve his sentence in a youth detention facility.

Prosecutor Michaela Donnelly had wanted longer terms – in jail – for both.

Levy’s mother confronted Nguyen in the hallway outside court while he was speaking to his lawyer.

“Michael’s convicted for life,” she said.

“It’s not fair.”

Nguyen said nothing and looked down at the floor while a victim services worker led Levy away.

Outside court, the angry mother continued for the waiting reporters and television cameras.

“Michael has to go the rest of his life in a wheelchair,” she said.

Levy said sentences of at least five years would have been appropriate.

“I’m just glad Michael wasn’t here to see this.”

Her son was suffering from nausea and too stressed out to attend court, she said.

“I dread telling him.”

In his decision, Surrey Provincial Court Judge Kenneth Ball said Nguyen turned himself in to police after he learned the extent of Levy’s injuries and has taken full responsibility for his part in the swarming attack.

The short but powerfully built Nguyen punched the taller Levy in the face during a youth dance at Tynehead Community Hall.

While the two were struggling, several other teens got involved.

Green, the one who received the two-year jail term, smashed a glass bottle over Levy’s head, opening a gash that needed four stitches to close.

On his lawyer’s advice, Green hasn’t admitted guilt or apologized.

Both teens have been ordered to perform community service and Ball said if possible, they should be required to work with disabled people.

A third teen sprayed Levy in the face with mace and struck him in the back with an axe, severing his spine in two places.

That teen fired his lawyer before the sentencing hearing was to begin, forcing a delay in his case until January.

If the third attacker is sentenced as an adult, he can be named in press reports.

dferguson@surreyleader.com

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