Jonathan Park was lucky he wasn’t killed.
That was the message the doctor who treated Park’s knife wounds two years ago sent to Justice Garrett Handregan, who will now be tasked with sentencing the two men responsible for the injuries inflicted.
Dillon Bourgeois and Paxton Sheahan were set to go to trial before Handregan in the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador in Corner Brook Tuesday morning.
The two 25-year-old men had been charged with attempted murder and aggravated assault in relation to the Oct. 29, 2015 attack that left Park, who is now 23, stabbed a dozen times.
The trial is no longer needed after Bourgeois and Sheahan both changed their pleas to guilty on the aggravated assault charges. Crown attorney Alana Dwyer then withdrew the attempted murder charges, pending the conviction being entered by Handregan.
The judge did convict the two after hearing an agreed statement of facts read in by Dwyer and acknowledged as accurate by Karen Rehner and Jonathan Regan, who are respectively the defence counsel for Bourgeois and Sheahan.
Dwyer told the court Bourgeois and Park had been in a fight outside Flynn’s Pub on Broadway a short time before the stabbing. Park thought that was the end of their confrontation when they both walked away from the fight.
Later in the night, though, Bourgeois and Sheahan attacked Park in the Coleman’s grocery store parking lot not far from the bar they had all been at earlier.
The court heard Bourgeois stabbed Park multiple times as Sheahan restrained Park.
Tuesday afternoon, Dwyer called general surgeon Dr. Judith Roger to give evidence pertaining to Park’s injuries. Roger tended to Park the night he was stabbed and was his attending physician until he was discharged around five days later.
She said, of the 12 stab wounds Park had, two were chest wounds that were bubbling air. She explained this meant the lining of the chest cavity that seals in the lungs and helps them function had been punctured, making breathing a problem.
Roger showed the court a CT scan of Park’s upper torso, which showed gaps of air where the knife had pierced his body. She noted one that had come extremely close to a main artery and indicated Park likely would not have survived if the knife had punctured that crucial blood vessel.
Park also had stab wounds to both shoulders and his back.
In addition to the aggravated assault charges, Sheahan entered a guilty plea to breaching a probation order he was under at the time of the stabbing, while Bourgeois pleaded guilty to breaching a no-contact order for communicating with Sheahan while the two were in custody.
The case will be called again Wednesday morning when Dwyer, Rehner and Regan all give Handregan their submissions on sentencing.