A man pleaded guilty to assault after attacking a random woman in a park earlier this year.
According to Castanet, a local news website, William Penney, 44, has been in custody since the July 12, 2023 incident. During his sentencing on Thursday, Nov. 16, prosecutors said that he went after the woman at Kelowna’s City Park in British Columbia, Canada, because he was convinced she was recording him.
The woman was on the phone at the time and ignoring Penney’s accusations, the report said. However, prosecutor Katie Bouchard noted that he approached the woman, spit on her, and called her the N-word. In addition to pushing her, he also slammed her phone on the ground. Bouchard claimed that he has a history of racist beliefs.
Video posted by the outlet shows multiple bystanders restraining Penney at the scene. He was lying face down on the concrete while the group held him with their hands and feet until police arrived.
The prosecutor described the attack as “degrading and dehumanizing,” and the woman left town because of the incident, Castanet reported. Penney’s defense mentioned his ongoing battle with mental health issues — specifically narcissistic personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder, and schizophrenia — and drug use.
A doctor said that despite not using drugs for two months, “he continues to experience long-standing grandiose delusions while on injectable antipsychotic treatment,” per the outlet.
According to the report, judge Andrew Tam, a provincial court judge in Kelowna, sentenced Penney to 133 days, which is ultimately time served, but Penney will be transported to the Red Fish Healing Centre for Mental Health and Addiction in Coquitlam for treatment for at least nine months, citing the public’s safety.
“This was a random, disgusting act perpetrated on an innocent passerby. Mr. Penney spat on [the victim] which I find particularly disgusting and in addition, the assault was accompanied by racial slurs,” Tam said, per the outlet. “Mr. Penney has for all of his adult life suffered from significant and profound mental health struggles … I must not lose sight of the principle of rehabilitation as well as proportionality.”