No criminal record for Liquid Zoo owner who pleaded guilty to assault - InfoNews

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No criminal record for Liquid Zoo owner who pleaded guilty to assault

Dale Habib pleaded guilty to common assault after a patron at his Liquid Zoo nightclub said he was assaulted at 2 a.m. Jan. 15, 2016. A Kelowna judge granted him a conditional discharge, saying the victim started it.
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July 28, 2017 - 1:13 PM

KELOWNA – A judge granted a Kelowna business owner a conditional discharge after he made physical contact with a belligerent man who refused to leave his nightclub last year.

Charged with assault causing bodily harm, Dale Habib, 49, pleaded guilty to common assault despite Crown’s acknowledgement that the victim, Matthew Oddy, appeared to have started the confrontation inside the Liquid Zoo nightclub Jan. 15, 2016.

The incident happened around 2 a.m. when staff at the Lawrence Avenue club were closing down for the night.

Crown lawyer Grant Gray told Judge Cathie Heinrichs that police refused to recommend charges after seeing surveillance footage which showed a staff member trying to eject a patron.

“It appears (the victim) inserted himself into a confrontation between (the staff member) and other unruly patrons,” Gray said. "It was something he’d have been better off to have left alone.”

When the victim, who was with at least five friends, “made a move” towards the staff member, Habib, whose family owns the Liquid Zoo, hit him in the face.

His lawyer Kim Ross said the punch was to get the man’s attention and was an attempt to defuse the situation.

“It's closing, the staff is trying to vacate the premises,” Ross said. “It’s time to close the bar. The victim is there with a number of friends. The victim then instigated this confrontation."

The punch, he said, was minor and no one was injured.

“It’s a jab, it’s a poke, almost like a slap,” he said. “He just kind of gave him a tap on the face.”

The victim filed a police report the next day but refused to provide a victim impact statement or appear in court.

Habib, who has no criminal record, was granted the conditional discharge after Heinrichs acknowledged the difficult job bar staff have dealing with intoxicated and often belligerent customers.

“This assault was spontaneous, it wasn’t preplanned,” Ross said. “It was something that occureed in the heat of the moment and the instigation of the victim. The victim did make a motion that required Mr. Habib to intervene.

“It was a measured action. This could have very easily been a situation where the blow that was tendered could have been much more forceful. It was measured just to get the attention of the victim.”

He will be on probation for one year. If he keeps the peace, he will have no criminal record. 

Charges against the other staff member were stayed earlier this year in exchange for him entering into a peace bond.


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