Man convicted of vicious Kelowna bar attack loses appeal | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Man convicted of vicious Kelowna bar attack loses appeal

Sapphire nightclub at 238 Leon Avenue.
Image Credit: Google Streetview
October 25, 2019 - 11:39 AM

The man who ordered a vicious 2014 nightclub attack that put another man in a coma, failed this week to have his conviction tossed out.

Steven Matthew Kaplan was sentenced in 2017 to eight months in jail for the Sept. 6, 2014, aggravated assault of a bar patron named Michael Martin.

Kaplan and Martin were involved in a fistfight earlier in the night because Martin hadn’t left another club, the Liquid Zoo, earlier. They both went to Sapphire and at Kaplan’s behest, club doorman Kyle O’Brien forcibly removed Martin, according to court documents.

Kaplan then pointed Martin out to a man named Steven Kollie who delivered a punishing blow to the head, causing Martin to fall backward and fracture his skull on the pavement.

The skull fracture and related bleeding in and around Martin’s brain necessitated a medically-induced coma that lasted for several days. 

O'Brien, a bouncer at Sapphire, was found guilty of assault and before the trial, Steven Kollie, another co-accused, pleaded guilty to the aggravated assault.

Kaplan maintained, however, that he did not tell Kollie to assault Martin and was surprised by Kollie’s actions, despite apparent video footage showing a contrary set of events. The judge did not share his view and the guilty verdict was reached. 

Working against Kaplan's defence was the fact he relayed an apology to Martin through the interviewing officer, “telling the officer it ‘wasn’t meant to go that far,’ he ‘didn’t mean to do that to (Mr. Martin),’ and ‘I didn’t mean to hurt you that bad,’” Justice Anne MacKenzie wrote.

The trial judge said even if Kaplan didn’t know Kollie would throw a punch, he was guilty of willful blindness and was capable of knowing he was embarking on the crime.

Kaplan challenged the conviction based on that idea.

Justice Anne W. MacKenzie wrote in a decision that it didn't warrant turning over the appeal.

“In my opinion, on the evidence as a whole, the judge could infer and did infer, as he explained, that the appellant brought in Mr. Kollie to assault Mr. Martin, intended to assist Mr. Kollie in an assault he knew Mr. Kollie intended to commit, and did so with an objective foresight of bodily harm,” MacKenzie wrote.

Kaplan was sentenced to eight months and he's yet to serve that time due to the appeal.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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