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Nova Scotia teen pleads guilty to aggravated assault after school stabbings

The Canadian Press   

News K-12

A 16-year-old student has pleaded guilty to stabbing two staff members at a Halifax-area high school last year. Police monitor the situation at Charles P. Allen High School in Halifax, Monday, March 20, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Riley Smith

A 16-year-old student has admitted to stabbing two staff members at a Halifax-area high school last year.

The teen, whose identity is protected from publication, pleaded guilty Monday to two counts of aggravated assault in Nova Scotia Youth Justice Court.

He had been expected to stand trial for attempted murder and other charges, but the province’s Public Prosecution Service confirmed those charges will be dealt with at a sentencing hearing on July 24, when they could be dropped.

The two victims — employees of Charles P. Allen High School, in Bedford, N.S. — were taken to hospital with serious wounds on March 20, 2023, but both have recovered.

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A statement of facts presented to the court says the suspect, who was 15 at the time, was escorted to the principal’s office by a security guard after he was spotted on surveillance footage putting up questionable posters on the school walls.

The court document says the boy was with principal Wayne Rogers and security guard Ryan Cosgrove when Cosgrove pulled a butterfly knife from the student’s school bag, then left the office with the weapon and called police.

As the principal started talking to the boy about possible disciplinary action, the school administrator said he was caught off guard when the student started rummaging through his bag and said, “My life is over, so it’s just as well to do this.”

At that point, the boy pulled a folding knife from the bag.

“He walked around my desk and I had nowhere to go,” Rogers is quoted as saying in the statement of facts. “Trying to avoid the knife, I pushed him back … to get around him to get through the door. But as I passed by him, I assume it was at that time that he stabbed me twice,” in the back and side.

Moments later, the boy emerged from the locked office and stabbed administrative assistant Angela Light in the back before fleeing the building, the statement says.

Once outside, the student “cut his neck with the knife,” which he was still holding when police arrived.

“In compliance with verbal commands from police, (he) dropped the knife and fell to his knees … (and) was arrested,” the statement says.

The boy initially pleaded not guilty to 11 charges on June 15 and was released from custody on June 28 after his parents each posted a $50,000 surety, which included a list of conditions.

The boy was initially charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault, possession of a dangerous weapon, carrying a concealed weapon, possession of a prohibited weapon and knowingly possessing an unauthorized weapon.

The statement of facts was released to the media after provincial court Judge Elizabeth Buckle approved an application for access.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 19, 2024.


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