February 25, 2014 - 6:23 PM
PENTICTON — Witnesses had different explanations as to how a fight began in a local bar two years ago. But all who were at the scene said there was a knife and a stabbing.
A fight between Joshua Pio and Dwayne Gabriel broke out on Jan. 1, 2012, shortly after the New Years’ countdown at the Barking Parrot, a local bar in downtown Penticton, resulting in the victim needing stitches for knife wounds.
Three of the four witnesses said they saw the knife in Pio’s fist during the fight and cuts on Gabriel afterward. The fourth witness, an RCMP officer, was not present at the fight and could only describe the wounds he saw as the victim received aid from paramedics at the scene.
“My white shirt was red and torn,” said Gabriel, 26. After encouragement from his father, Gabriel eventually went to the hospital to get stitches for the stab wounds on his forehead, left arm and left shoulder blade.
Pio, 24, is accused of aggravated assault and assault with a weapon. He elected to be tried by Judge Allan Betton and a jury. He shook his head at one witness’s testimony about him initiating a conversation with Gabriel.
Gabriel said when he saw Pio the night of the fight, it was the first time he’d seen him in five years. While the men were never friends, they knew each other from high school.
Brittany Gallagher, Gabriel’s girlfriend at the time, told the court the only time she ever saw Pio was the night of the fight, and in court this morning. She didn’t know who he was, nor anything about Facebook posts that started the conversation. When she asked Gabriel later why they fought, he refused to answer. She said she is still unclear of the circumstances.
Gabriel said he was told by a common acquaintance that Pio referred to Gabriel as a “dumb Indian” and other racial slurs. Defence counsel Ian McAndrews said Pio did not have a Facebook profile at that time.
The conversation between the two became heated the night of the incident. Witnesses said Pio stood up, flipped the table and said “I’m not scared of you! I’m going to... kill you,” Gabriel said. A fist fight ensued even after security tried to restrain them.
The trial will continue tomorrow morning and counsel expects the jury to reach a verdict by the end of the week.
To contact the reporter for this story, e-mail Meaghan Archer at firstname.lastname@example.org, call 250-488-3065.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014