Northern Ont. judge rejects claim that man stabbed victim in the back four times in self-defence
A judge in Sudbury, Ont., has rejected claims of self-defence by a man charged with stabbing a victim in the back four times.
The incident took place in July 2021 at a residence on Kathleen Street in the city. According to the court decision, the victim said the accused attacked him, unprovoked, from behind.
But the accused in the case said a “birthday hug” he gave to someone’s girlfriend led to violence and he was just defending himself.
Problems began shortly after the accused met up with three people on Kathleen Street and went with them into a nearby residence.
“It was in that residence where the birthday hug exchange and comments with (the girlfriend) took place,” the court decision said.
The accused testified that he was thrown out of the residence when the woman’s boyfriend became upset about the hug. He said he only returned to the area to retrieve items he had left behind, then was forced to defend himself.
But the stabbing victim testified that no such exchange involving a hug took place and that he was suddenly attacked from behind for no reason.
The judge ruled that neither of them was telling the full story of what happened. The most likely scenario, he wrote, was that there was an interaction and that the accused removed his property from the residence and then came back to get two more items: a hat and a necklace.
When he re-entered the residence, he was carrying a knife wrapped around a piece of clothing.
The man “testified that he unintentionally used his knife to stab (the victim) at least four times in his upper back during a physical altercation with him,” the court decision said.
“He claims that when he returned to (the victim’s) residence to retrieve the remaining property that had not been returned to him, (the victim) came at him, pushed him up against the wall and punched him.”
He also said that the victim told another man to “go and retrieve a hammer.”
In his analysis, the judge said three elements are required to prove self-defence: the person must sincerely believe they are going to be attacked, their actions must clearly be in self-defence, and the actions must be a reasonable response to what is happening.
In this case, the accused said he feared for his life when the victim asked someone to get a hammer. However, the judge said, no mention of a hammer was made during the accused’s chief testimony.
The fact that it was mentioned later raises doubts about credibility, the judge said, calling it “difficult to believe.”
In addition, video evidence of what happened showed the accused to be the aggressor.
“After the alleged stabbing, it is clear to me that the video footage portrays (the accused) to be confrontational, angry, and actively seeking violence as opposed to attempting to avoid it,” the judge said.
ANGRY AND CONFRONTATIONAL
The accused also demanded that a neighbour who filmed what happened delete the footage “in an angry, confrontational manner.”
Further, a neighbour who was outside with his six-year-old daughter testified he heard the accused yell, “Someone’s going to die today!”
“The combination of all three videos illustrates an armed, angry and confrontational (accused) yelling and swearing, while pursuing one neighbour across the street who attempted to video record the events,” the judge wrote.
In addition, after stabbing the victim, he left and came back carrying a big stick, “seeking additional violence, not avoiding it.”
He also tried to sneak into the residence from a back entrance, which “is more consistent with the Crown’s theory of him initiating a surprise attack.”
The most likely series of events is that the victim was sitting outside his residence, enjoying a beer, when the accused launched a surprise attack from behind and stabbed him in the back four times.
This conclusion, the judge said, is supported by an interview the accused had with police after the incident.
“The guy deserved it, he attacked me first, so I finished him. If you’re wondering … The knife is in my pants in the bush where I ran…,” the accused told police.
When cautioned he shouldn’t say anything without a lawyer present, the man responded, “Who cares? You got me. I am guilty.”
The judge threw out the self-defence claim and found the man guilty of aggravated assault and assault with a weapon.
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