Volume 92, Issue 90

Thursday, March 18, 1999


Student fee increases passed

USC communications officer calls it quits

Fee may be cut for legal services

London police close in on T.J. Baxter's bomber

Charges laid in latest London stabbing

Parental care receives financial boost


Caught on campus

Charges laid in latest London stabbing

By Paul-Mark Rendon
Gazette Staff

Clarification (June 7, 2017): the criminal charges filed against Leonard Mistretta were withdrawn in 1999.

London police have made an arrest in connection with the latest stabbing incident on London's streets.

Twenty-six-year-old Leonard Mistretta of Westbrook Crescent in Komoka, was arrested by police yesterday morning at work.

Const. Tracey Frizzell, media relations officer for London police, said Mistretta has been charged with aggravated assault in connection with the stabbing which occurred this past weekend inside the Sassafras Cafe & Bistro.

Twenty-four-year-old Dean Watson, the victim in the stabbing is listed in stable condition at the South Street Campus of the London Health Sciences Centre.

Frizzell said Mistretta is the only individual charged in connection with the incident. Though the court date has not yet been set, Frizzell said the charge carries a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison.

Dino Fotia, owner of Sassafras Cafe & Bistro, said while he was pleased to hear of the arrest, he is still upset. "This whole thing started at another bar and ended up at our place, making this unfortunate for us," he said.

Fotia added he will be keeping a closer watch on his customers, especially between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m., during which time the cafe is usually filled to capacity with people who left the local bars. "Once I've reached capacity, I'm not letting anyone else in," he added.

Still, Fotia admitted these sorts of violent incidents make it difficult for proprietors to be proactive. "If people are looking for trouble, trouble can always be found," he said.

Although the recent number of stabbings in London has aroused the concerns of police and city officials, the latest stabbing was downplayed by several other business owners in the Richmond Row area, who say giving these violent incidents too much attention may only lead to more violence.

Trevor Hinds, manager of T.J. Baxter's Tap & Grill, said the bar would not increase security for fear of driving customers away. "Security won't help us much. My view is that you beef up security and you make people more uncomfortable."

Dan Serruya, owner of The Shot Pool Pub, agreed and said while he was shocked to hear the news of the stabbing, bars cannot always provide complete security for their patrons. "[A stabbing] is a concern no matter where it is, but it's very hard for establishments to do anything," he said.

Jaime Harmsworth, manager of Sebastian's Splendid Food on Richmond Street, said the stabbing incident left him no more concerned than he already was. "It's always on the back of my mind, but there's nothing you or I can do to stop these things from happening," he said.

"It's a shame, but we don't want people to get uncomfortable coming to the bar," Serruya said. He added businesses in the area are relying on more communication to combat violence. "We share a lot of the same clientele so it's important we communicate."

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Copyright The Gazette 1999