THE HAMILTON SPECTATOR, AUGUST 27 2013
A man accused of slashing a cab driver with a knife on the weekend says he didn’t do it and, at the time, was being assaulted himself.
In an interview at the Barton Street jail, Richard Smith told The Spectator he was celebrating his 37th birthday Saturday night when he was jumped by four men, right around the same time police say a cab driver was slashed at Main Street East and Kenilworth Avenue.
“This is a miscarriage of justice, ” he said. “I know how that sounds coming from a convicted felon, but I don’t lie … (I’m) an open sinner, not a false saint.”
Smith has spent time in jail before. Since his first arrest in Hamilton, around age 16, the North End native says he’s spent a total of 13 years behind bars. He’s been to Barton before. He’s also been to Collins Bay, Frontenac, Millhaven and Bath, he says.
In 2010, according to the Kingston Whig-Standard, Smith was acquitted of the second-degree murder of cab driver David Krick.
In 2003, Smith was convicted of abducting a Milton woman at knifepoint.
According to the Kingston Whig-Standard, Smith had confronted the woman in a doughnut shop parking lot and drove her – in her own car – to a secluded spot where he sexually assaulted her. He then forced her to withdraw money from an ATM and hand it over before he finally let her go.
For that crime, he was charged with sexual assault with a weapon, forcible confinement, robbery, possession of property obtained by crime and driving while disqualified. Smith received a four-year, eight-month prison sentence.
He was released on parole in 2005 and added to the sex offender registry.
Today, Smith says it was a misunderstanding with an ex-girlfriend. Yes, he took the car and had the woman withdraw money, but he says didn’t assault her.
She just had a cut on her shoulder. From what? “A Ginsu knife, ” he said. Smith said he’d pushed her while holding one.
He was acquitted of Krick’s murder after the Crown presented a largely circumstantial case about the death of the cab driver, who was robbed and left bleeding on the sidewalk. The Whig-Standard reported identification was a key issue.
At the time, lead investigator Bill Kennedy announced he was “absolutely disgusted” with the verdict, and, turning to Smith, said, “Go out and do it again.”
As Smith left the courthouse, the Whig-Standard reported that Kennedy yelled after him to “enjoy his freedom because David Krick won’t be enjoying his.”
After the acquittal, Smith reportedly moved back to Hamilton – his hometown.
Sitting at the Barton Street jail on Monday evening, dressed in an orange jumpsuit, Smith says he’s been in solitary confinement, on medical watch, for two days.
He points to his left eye, purple and cut at the brow. He lifts a tattooed arm, the elbow scabbed over.
He didn’t murder Krick, Smith says, and he didn’t slash a cab driver Saturday night.
Police say a man and a friend were kicked out of the Gladstone Tavern, at Main Street East and Kenilworth Avenue after “multiple disturbances” with other patrons and employees around 2 a.m.
Police say the taxi driver who was attacked was chatting with three other cabbies just before the incident.
Smith says that after leaving a bar, he was being jumped while trying to cut through a back yard. If he’d had a knife, he asks, wouldn’t he have fought off his attackers?
“I’m a marked man. Plain and simple.” Once you get into the system, he says, you never get out.
The oldest of five kids, Smith was born to a 14-year-old mother and a 15-year-old father. At 11, he was smoking marijuana and dropping acid. At 16, he was in juvenile detention. He doesn’t remember what for. Probably stealing a car or a break-and-enter. He was an adrenalin junkie, he says. Still is. Only these days, he’s been trying to find legal ways to do it, like skydiving and whitewater rafting. He has two teen daughters. He’s trying to clean it up for them. He hasn’t seen them in 13 years. He wants a normal life.
Smith says he’s certified as a heavy equipment operator, but hasn’t had the chance to work in the field. Every time he takes two steps forward, he says, it’s like he’s being pulled three steps back. He’s tired of wearing an orange jumpsuit – standard jail garb.
Police have charged Smith with assault with a weapon and failing to comply with a recognizance in connection with Saturday’s incident.
He appeared in court Monday morning and remains in custody at the Barton Street jail. He will appear in court by video on Wednesday.