A man who threatened two corrections officers with a syringe before fleeing from Richmond Hospital two years ago was sentenced to time served on Monday.
Judge Derek Mah, in Richmond Provincial Court, gave Taymour Aghtai, 28, a nine-month jail sentence for assault and escaping lawful custody. Mah credited Aghtai with 270 days after serving 180 in custody, based on the time-and-a-half credit. Aghtai remains behind bars to await sentencing for making a hoax call to the Lynn Valley Care Centre in North Vancouver early in the pandemic.
Court heard that Aghtai had been arrested Sept. 12, 2020 and taken from Richmond RCMP cells to hospital after he told police he had swallowed a bag of drugs. He had a bail hearing while at the hospital and was remanded until Sept. 15, 2020. Aghtai had been unshackled from his hospital bed to go to the bathroom, but took a needle from his arm, pointed it at one of the officers, and asked “do you want to get hep?”, in reference to hepatitis. “I’m getting back out of here, they’re after me,” he said before making a dash for the exit.
The officers chased and shouted at Aghtai, hoping that hospital security would help. Chairs were thrown in Aghtai’s path to no avail. He left the hospital, but police found him a block away, holding a syringe containing blood. He did not resist police orders to drop the syringe.
The court heard that Aghtai has a lengthy criminal record, including a three-year sentence in March 2015 for break and enter, robbery, unlawful confinement and use of an imitation firearm within an indictable offence. Aghtai and another male committed an apartment invasion in April 2014 in which a knife was held to the throat of a victim.
“The scene was quite chaotic and terrifying,” Mah said.
The Crown sought one year in jail — or 243 days time served, which would have amounted to 365 days credit. Aghtai’s lawyer sought six months for the assault charge and two months for the escape from lawful custody to be served concurrently.
Aghtai appeared via video from custody. He told court that he is apologetic and regretted his actions after spending time to think about his aging father and grandparents.
“I haven't done good and one of my main goals in life is to be good, be a law-abiding, productive member of society,” Aghtai said. “And I know that can't happen at this second, I know that can't happen in the next few months. But eventually it can.”
Mah said he took into account the time spent by Aghtai in jail during the pandemic, his remorse, age and earlier diagnoses for obsessive-compulsive disorder and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. He banned Aghtai from possessing firearms for 10 years and ordered him to provide a DNA sample.
Last December, Aghtai pleaded guilty to conveying a false message with intent to alarm after making a hoax phone call to Lynn Valley Care Centre in March 2020 before it was the site of Canada’s first-known death from coronavirus. Aghtai pretended to be a public health officer warning the facility should be closed. His call led to a shift cancellation the next day.