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Man who assaulted autistic student admits trying to pay witness to lie

By Tracy McLaughlin, Special to Postmedia Network

BARRIE - 

Red-faced and weeping in the prisoner’s box, a former teaching assistant convicted of breaking his severely autistic student’s leg admitted he tried to pay a witness to lie for him on the witness stand.

Corey Stibbard, 33, of Angus, Ont. pleaded guilty to attempting to obstruct justice while a second charge of counselling to commit perjury was dropped in exchange for his early plea. He was sentenced to six months in jail on top of the 12-month sentence he received last April after being convicted of assault causing bodily harm.

The convoluted story began when Stibbard took his autistic student, Riley Dooley, 20, who has the ability of a two-year-old, to a dollar store on Dec. 4, 2015. When Dooley wouldn’t let go of a small toy dinosaur, Stibbard became frustrated, delivered a karate-like kick to him and shattered Dooley’s tibia and fibula, leaving him writhing in pain on the floor with bone sticking out of his leg.

Stibbard was found guilty at trial, but was terrified of going to jail — so while awaiting sentencing he offered to pay a woman he hardly knew a “significant” amount of cash, court heard.

Stibbard went to visit the woman, Ashley Doucette, of the New Tecumseth area, at her home and the two chatted for a while as acquaintances. She was shocked when suddenly Stibbard offered to pay her to testify that she saw the autistic student attack him and he was acting in self-defence.

“He had the entire concocted story written out for her,” Crown attorney Mary Ann Alexander said. “She was stunned.”

Stibbard left, hoping Doucette would think about his offer, but she quickly called police.

It was not the first time Stibbard was accused of getting a witness to lie for him in court. During his assault trial, a surprise witness came forward on the last day to testify he was at the dollar store and saw the autistic student attacking Stibbard.

“It was clear to me that it was self-defence,” said the witness, Corey Robinson, a self-admitted former crack addict who lived on the streets.

The Crown said his story was “preposterous and ridiculous” and Justice Robert Gattrell admitted he was suspicious, saying, “I find his whole story is cooked up for some agenda.” No charges were laid in that incident.

The autistic student’s mother, Patty Dooley, says her son, who needed extensive surgery, still lives in fear of Stibbard.

 



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