Man accused in ‘gas war’ attack pleads guilty to assault, breach of probation

The following story contains graphic images of the victim’s injuries.

Anwar Kamaran, the owner of a gas station in Walsh, Alta., has admitted to attacking his main business rival, the operator of a gas station and convenience store located directly across from his store. 

Kamaran, a one-time candidate for the Alberta Liberal party, pleaded guilty Tuesday to assault causing bodily harm to Geoff Shoesmith and the assault of Shoesmith’s son, David.

He also admitted to uttering threats and breaching the conditions of his probation by posting threatening messages on social media directed at the Shoesmith family. 

Kamaran attended the court hearing virtually from a holding cell and was dressed in a blue prisoner’s jumpsuit with black trim. He was holding a file folder and showed no emotion during the hearing in Medicine Hat Provincial Court.

Kamaran, who owns Walsh Save On Gas on the Trans-Canada Highway near the Saskatchewan border, entered his competitor’s gas station across the road and punched Geoff Shoesmith in the face and arm, knocking him unconscious last summer.

Geoff Shoesmith suffered a concussion and bruising after an attack in his gas station in Walsh, Alta., on Aug. 9, 2020. The owner of a nearby gas station was charged with assault causing bodily harm. (Submitted by Shoesmith family)

The attack was captured on security cameras inside Shoesmith’s Trailside gas station and convenience store, a business he and his family have owned for more than 25 years.

The video footage showed Kamaran run into the store and go behind the front counter where Shoesmith was standing on Aug. 9, 2020.

The attack lasted just five seconds. However, the court hearing watched a 20-minute excerpt that showed the attack and the aftermath when Shoesmith regained consciousness. 

Shoesmith tried to get away by climbing onto the counter near the cash register, but he was struck in the face and fell to the floor. Another camera angle captured at least four more blows.

Security footage taken inside Trailside gas station in Walsh, Alta., on Aug. 9, 2020, shows owner Geoff Shoesmith attacked. 0:25

The Crown also played a video taken from David Shoesmith’s property when a vehicle pulls up to the side of the property. Kamaran gets out of his SUV and punches the younger Shoesmith.

Victim impact statements

In a victim impact statement, Geoff Shoesmith says he suffers constant neck and shoulder pain and has experienced post-concussion symptoms.

He says he is in constant fear that Kamaran will attack or “murder” his family.

Geoff Shoesmith says he was attacked in his gas station by his main business rival, Anwar Kamaran. (Submitted by Shoesmith family)

The Crown will ask for a nine-month jail sentence, followed by two years probation. It will also seek a five-kilometre no-go zone around the Shoesmith business.

Shaun Leochko, the lawyer for Kamaran, told the court a five-month jail term would be appropriate. He says he will argue against the five-kilometre ban, since Kamaran’s business is located next to Shoesmith’s. 

Sentencing submissions from both the Crown and defence are expected next month. A decision from provincial court Judge Gordon Krinke is expected in August.

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