Alleged victim denies intimate relationship in Signal Hill attempted murder trial

A 30-year-old Iranian engineering student on trial for attempted murder made a plea in a group chat hours after he allegedly threw himself and his classmate over a cliff on Signal Hill.

"Don't let me be destroyed."

He wrote those words to his PhD supervisor, asking him to intervene and stop his close friend from speaking with police.

The complainant in the case took the stand on Monday for long and winding testimony, in which he ducked in and out of his mother tongue and broken English.

Defence lawyer Mark Gruchy appeared frustrated at times, as the complainant gave long and rambling answers to simple yes or no questions about his relationship with the man accused of trying to kill him.

I don't have any tendency towards the same sex. - Complainant

It's alleged the accused tried to throw them both over Signal Hill on April 7, 2017, in a botched murder-suicide attempt.

The complainant, with his salt-and-pepper hair and checkered shirt tucked into khaki pants, never wanted to be here, where the intimate details of his personal life and his most frightening moment could be questioned for the world to learn about.

He can take some solace in knowing there's a publication ban on his name and face — but surely those who know him will know.

There's something he wants everyone to understand — he was never in a romantic relationship with the accused.

"The natural attraction of a human is only towards the opposite sex. Not the same sex," he said. "I don't have any tendency towards the same sex."

His testimony flew in the face of previous comments by Gruchy, who said the issues at the core of this case would be punishable by death in their home country of Iran.

Complainant tried to withdraw charges

He also never wanted to bring him to trial.

The accused also wrote the complainant the night of the incident with four brief messages — "For God's sake / Take back what you said / Don't play with my life / For God's sake."

The complainant later wrote police and asked if he could withdraw consent for them to search his phone. When asked about it on the stand, he said he didn't want to proceed with charges.

"Right now it's wasting my time. I don't want to be here. It's continuing the case but it's not what I wanted to take place."

He went to police after the incident because he wanted his friend to get help, he said. He didn't feel safe around him, and he wasn't comfortable leaving him alone either.

He didn't expect attempted murder charges would be laid.

Complainant talked him off the ledge

Three days in a row — April 5, 6 and 7 — they went to Signal Hill in search of ski trails.

The complainant said on the last two days, the accused took him there in search of a specific area but couldn't find it.

He doubted there was ever an actual ski trail, but he didn't bring it up because he knew the accused was going through a hard time.

"I knew he had a problem and as a support I did not [question him]. I didn't even ask him … 'Where are you going?'"

The incident happened near the top of Ladies' Lookout, a popular trail on a steep cliff. The complainant told police the accused "hugged" him. On Monday, however, he said it was his poor English, and what he really meant was that the man grabbed him.

He denied there was anything intimate about their contact.

Ryan Cooke/CBC

They fell about 10 to 15 feet until the complainant grabbed hold of a bush and stopped himself from falling onto the jagged rocks and crashing ocean below.

The complainant said he spent the next 15 minutes on the side of the cliff trying to convince his friend not to kill himself.

He kissed him at least five times during those 15 minutes, but said it was just to "make him calm."

He said it was the only time they'd ever kissed.

Gruchy asked several times about them hugging and kissing. He asked if the complainant was happy in his marriage (he said he was) and asked if he ever expressed his love for the accused.

It's not clear what relevance the nature of their relationship has to the defence's case, but the accused is expected to testify when the defence begins calling witnesses.

Trial broke on Monday for the time being. The Crown still has to call one more witness, a police officer who is not available until after Sept. 29.

It's expected the trial will resume some time in October.

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