St. Thomas bat attack perpetrator given 3-year conditional discharge

  A Toronto man who was filmed swinging a baseball bat and hurling racial epithets in St. Thomas has been sentenced to a 3-year conditional discharge and must complete 240 community service hours.

Mark Philips, 37, pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of assault causing bodily harm in a St. Thomas court Tuesday.

Phillips must also receive counselling, he is banned from owning any weapons and cannot use any non prescribed drugs, including marijuana.

Phillips had been charged with three counts of assault with a weapon and one count of aggravated assault.

Phillips heard a family speaking Spanish and began screaming at them, calling them terrorists and ordered them to stay away.

He accused them of being part of ISIS and he struck victim Sergio Estepa with the bat. Phillips was arrested a short time later.

Phillips was charged on Dec. 8 with aggravated assault and three counts of assault with a weapon.

Victim Mari Zambrano was overcome by emotion during her victim impact statement, telling the court her “life has changed, emotions have changed.” She says as a landlord she’s too afraid to show prospective tenants an apartment.

In his victim impact statement, Sergio Estepa talked about having sleep issues, nightmares and anxiety attacks. He expressed how this incident reinforced his concerns about racism saying, “Am I not allowed to speak Spanish? Am I not all to grow a beard?”

Nick Estepa, 14, also gave an emotional victim statement. “Everyone remembers me as the victim of the bat attack. I don’t want to be remembered this way.” He added, “Seeing my dad beaned with a baseball bat took my heart out.”

Phillips’ lawyer, Stephen Skurka, says the Crown and defense have agreed that there should be no further time served, with Phillips having served 11 days of pre-trial custody and been on bail conditions since the incident.

Skurka cited expert analysis from a psychiatrist and a psychologist indicating Phillips experienced a drug-induced psychosis caused by smoking large amounts of marijuana and that is the reason for the bat attack.

Skurka says Phillips has vowed to stop using pot.