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Engine revver awarded $75,000 after being injured by angry neighbour

Angry at a man who was revving the engine of his vehicle early in the morning in Tofino, Ole Marvin Hansen grabbed a piece of wood and began striking the vehicle in a 'frenzied attack.'
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A former Tofino man has been awarded $75,805 after his elbow was injured and his car repeatedly struck by another man wielding a piece of wood like a baseball bat, in what a B.C. Supreme Court judged described as a “frenzied attack.”

It started between 4:30 a.m. and 5 a.m. on Jan. 22, 2018, when Clayton Giesbrecht was in the parking lot of a store he helped out at. When he tried to leave, the car would not move.

Thinking the engine was cold, Giesbrecht began revving the engine.

Ole Marvin Hansen, whose house was next door, was awakened by the noise and got out of bed “not happy,” Madame Justice Catherine Murray said in her decision, posted online Monday.

On his way out of the house, Hansen grabbed a piece of wood similar to a two-by-four, Murray said in a review of evidence.

“Wielding the piece of wood like a baseball bat, Mr. Hansen repeatedly struck Mr. Giesbrecht’s car, shattering the front and rear windshields and denting the window frames.

“Mr. Hansen then struck the driver’s side window, breaking it and hitting Mr. Giesbrecht’s arm, causing injury.”

Giesbrecht testified that as Hansen wound up to strike the driver’s side window, Giesbrecht put his left arm up, crooked at the elbow, to shield his face and head. When Hansen broke through the window, he struck Giesbrecht’s elbow.

“Glass flew into Mr. Giesbrecht’s car, hitting him on the left side of his neck and cutting his skin,” the decision says. Giesbrecht said he told Hansen he had broken his elbow.

Giesbrecht went to a hospital’s emergency room, where a photo shows his left elbow was bruised, swollen and abraded.

Hansen admitted losing his temper and taking a two-by-four to Giesbrecht’s vehicle, smashing windows and a tail light, Murray noted, adding Hansen said he was ashamed of his actions.

“I have no difficulty finding that in his fury, Mr. Hansen struck Mr. Giesbrecht’s elbow with the piece of wood when he smashed through the driver’s side window.”

Giesbrecht said he is constant pain and cannot do things he used to enjoy, such as cycling and off-road biking. He used to salvage and repair bikes, selling them for a reasonable cost, which gave him a feeling of contributing to the community, but cannot do that any more and continues to experience anxiety, the judge noted.

Murray ordered Hansen to pay Giesbrecht $75,805 in damages, imposing $8,000 in punitive damages.

Hansen had argued that punitive damages were not justified as his behaviour was not malicious and did not depart from ordinary standards of decent behaviour.

But Murray said Hansen’s behaviour was “unprovoked, malicious and uncontrolled. It was definitely a marked departure from the ordinary standards of decent behaviour.”

While she said she can understand being annoyed by being woken up by engine revving, smashing the car over and over again without regard to the damage or injury that could cause was “highly reprehensible.”

No money was awarded for lost wages or for loss of future earning capacity, as requested by Giesbrecht, because of lack of records and unclear evidence regarding his ability to work, the judge said.

Hansen had argued that Giesbrecht’s evidence was questionable because he has unrealistic ideas or ideals, but Murray disagreed, saying Giesbrecht has non-mainstream ideas but was credible.

“He is not driven by money but rather by his passions.” For example, Giesbrecht, a surfer, said he has told employers and potential employers that if there were big waves, he would not come to work, she said.

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