Feng Han held a meat cleaver to another man’s throat after busting down the door to his room, but the victim was uninjured

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The Crown has lost an appeal of a conditional discharge for a B.C. man who busted down the door to his roommate’s suite and threatened him with a meat cleaver to the throat during a heated exchange.

In October 2022, Feng Han rented a room in the same Richmond home as the complainant and relations between the two were “negative” from the start, court heard at trial.

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On Dec. 17, 2022, the roommate was smoking outside when he threw a stick at Han’s balcony and woke him up. When the roommate refused Han’s request to stop, Han tossed a plastic chair at him and said he was coming to get him.

The roommate ran back into his room and taunted Han through a window. Holding the meat cleaver in his hand, Han kicked at the man’s door twice, forced it open and tackled his roommate. The two ended up on the bed with Han on top of the victim with the cleaver to his throat for close to three minutes while the man begged for mercy.

There was another fight in the kitchen after the roommate told Han the attack had been recorded.

Han pleaded guilty to forcible entry and assault with a weapon at a trial in June 2023. The Crown sought jail time of six to nine months followed by probation, while Han’s lawyers asked for a discharge. On Sept. 13, 2023, Han was given a conditional discharge and two years’ probation, including 188 hours of community service.

The Crown disagreed, arguing the assault was premeditated and serious and that the sentence did not adequately address the legal principles of deterrence and denunciation.

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But B.C. Supreme Court Justice Anita Chan dismissed the appeal, noting that despite some aggravating factors, Han had no prior criminal record, did not physically injured the victim, pleaded guilty and expressed remorse, and took extensive counselling about his anger issues afterward.

Chan deemed the discharge appropriate because of Han’s “otherwise good character” and said Han should “be given a second chance and not be saddled with a criminal record.”

“The heart of the Crown’s appeal is that the sentence imposed was unfit, as it was not proportional to the gravity of the offence and the degree of responsibility of the offender,” read the appeal decision posted online Tuesday.

The Crown argued it was a “prolonged and violent attack” and that grabbing the cleaver before busting into the room showed premeditation. But the cases where jail time was imposed to which the Crown referred involved significant injuries to the victim and in one case involved an accused with a criminal record.

Neither of those aggravating factors was at play in the assault between “warring roommates,” making them poor comparisons, according to the appeal judge.

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