©Jeff Harper - Metro Halifax
A man accused in the June 25 alleged beating of a homeless man Halifax was arrested for breaching conditions less than 24 hours after being released.
Jaspaul Nijjar, 24, was arrested Thursday night after being found in the area of Victoria Park, a place he was not allowed to be according to the conditions of his release.
“He was released on condition to stay away from the area where the incident occurred, and he didn’t do that,” said Halifax Regional Police spokesman Pierre Bourdages. Nijjar is charged with breach of undertaking and breach of probation and will appear in Halifax Provincial Court on Friday.
Those charges are in addition to ones in connection with the alleged beating of a 61-year-old homeless man at Victoria Park on Wednesday.
Police are calling it “disturbing” and “troubling” that Nijar allegedly punched a homeless man in the face several times at the popular park on Wednesday, and yelled disparaging comments at him.
Police say the 61-year-old victim sat defenceless on a park bench during the assault that happened around 3 p.m.
Prior to the assault, police say there was an exchange of words between the two, with the suspect making disparaging comments about the man’s living conditions.
The assault was only broken up when a bystander intervened.
“It’s deeply disturbing. We are talking about a very (busy) part of the city that happened in broad daylight,” said police spokesman Const. Pierre Bourdages.
“He sat there defenceless and was being assault until someone stepped in.”
The 24-year-old Nijar eventually left on foot and police say he was arrested by force a short distance away when he refused to comply with an officers demands.
The homeless man suffered facial injuries and was treated on scene by paramedics.
Police say the incident appears to be completely random.
Advocate: 'Not totally surprised'
The executive director of Shelter Nova Scotia hopes the seemingly random assault in broad daylight is an eye-opener for the general public.
“I am shocked and disappointed, but not totally surprised,” Don Spicer said of the incident at Victoria Park on Wednesday. “But I hope that it does shock the general public.”
Spicer says assaults against homeless people across North America are nothing new. He points to statistics that show a homeless person is 50 per cent more likely to be a victim of a crime than a member of the general public.
“I think it’s a case of an easy target, vulnerable,” he said.
“If you (also) don’t see them as a person first, it’s easier to commit a crime against them,” he then added about some people’s perceptions.