A B.C. Provincial Court judge has found a man not guilty of aggravated assault in connection with an attack that left a Maple Ridge resident with a permanent brain injury.
The decision regarding Trevor Harding, of Tipperary, Ireland, was delivered Thursday in Port Coquitlam.
Witnesses for the Crown said Cordell Peter Dame was attacked, while defence witnesses and Harding said it was an act of self-defence.
It started in May 2011 when Dame and a friend had an altercation in Maple Ridge with three other men.
Alouette Taxi driver and manager George Nestor testified in B.C. Provincial Court in Port Coquitlam that he saw the incident unfold when he arrived to pick the two men up after they’d spent the evening at Shooters Bar.
Nestor said he received a call from Tim Toth, who was a regular customer, on May 1, 2011 shortly after 2 a.m. and drove to meet him and Dame at a Husky gas station on Dewdney Trunk Road near the bar.
As he approached, he noticed the three other men on the other side of the road. The five men appeared to be talking or yelling at each other.
When he parked at the gas station, Nestor saw that the three men had crossed the road. Dame and one of the men from the other group were talking in raised voices and pushing each other.
Nestor said he honked his horn to get the attention of Toth and Dame. He heard Toth yell, “C’mon, let’s go. George is here,” and walk toward the taxi. Dame followed.
The three men followed. When they got close to the taxi, the man Dame had been arguing with grabbed Dame’s shoulder, turned him around, and punched him in the face, Nestor said.
Dame was knocked off his feet and fell to the ground.
Nestor said that was when he got out of his car and yelled at the men. As he opened his door, the man who punched Dame also kicked him as he lay on the ground.
When Nestor realized how badly Dame was injured, he called 911.
Dame spent 37 days in a coma at Royal Columbian Hospital. He is now in a wheelchair.
-Jen Saltman is with The Province