Man acquitted of Quesnel assault

A man has been acquitted of assault against his former romantic partner at their Quesnel residence on Feb. 17, 2022.

Referred to only by initials, a case against the man was not proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Justice Judith Doulis questioned the credibility of the couple's testimony against each other, both being the only witnesses to the incident.

Doulis said she believes there was an altercation between the man and woman, just not as presented.

“I am not persuaded that the altercation precisely or even substantially unfolded as she described,” wrote Doulis of the woman's testimony.

“I have also considered [his] version of events in the context of all of the evidence as a whole. I do not find them entirely believable,” added Doulis.

The man denied assaulting his partner, and told court that he believed the woman fabricated their story to deflect blame after running him over with a Jeep and leaving the scene.

The woman had accused the man of blocking her in a hallway inside the residence, throwing her to the floor, and that he had brandished a knife at her in the driveway when she attempted to leave.

The two had met in Chilliwack in 2019 through a dating website, and by November 2020, they were living together in an intimate relationship there. By April 2021, the pair had purchased a house together in Quesnel.

Initially, the two shared the master bedroom in the house, but slept in separate bedrooms as the relationship deteriorated.

The woman alleged that the man blocked her from leaving the residence on Feb. 17, 2022 after she informed him that movers would be coming on Feb. 19, claiming that the man told her he didn’t want anyone to enter the house.

The man allegedly ran at the woman when she countered that she would be getting her stuff out of the residence, according to her testimony.

It’s alleged he hit her on the nose with his open palm, causing her to stumble backwards, then proceeded to grab her wrists, shaking her around and bouncing her off walls, before throwing her to the floor, hitting her head on the top of a hallway console table.

The woman further alleged that she got up and told the man to do it again, and claimed he pushed her again with open palms just below her shoulders, but did not fall down a second time.

The woman also testified that she then attempted to leave, alleging that the man tried to block her with his truck outside after she had entered her own vehicle, a Jeep, by driving directly in front of her.

She then alleged that she waited until the man had exited his truck, backing up so she could drive around it. The woman claimed the man then stood in front of her bumper, brandishing a pocket knife.

The woman told court she believed the man was going to stab her tire, and drove away, noting she felt a bump as she left, seeing the man fall down from her peripheral vision.

The bump, the man claims, was the woman driving over the lower calf of his left leg after he slipped on ice in the driveway, texting her that she had broken his ankle.

The man told court he has degenerative disk disorder, a result of back surgery in his early twenties, in addition to suffering from Complex Regional Pain Syndrome as a result of a shoulder fracture in 2014, and sciatic pain disorder in his left leg from a 2016 car accident. The man said he also uses a cane for balance and to prevent falls, in addition to taking prescribed medications to manage chronic pain.

The man told court they were not spouses or involved in an intimate relationship, describing it as a business relationship. He also told court that he said no to the movers on Feb. 19 because he needed to move his stuff into the basement and out of the way of the woman’s belongings.

The woman has refuted the man's characterization of their relationship as a business relationship, noted the court ruling.

The man alleged that the woman shoved him without provocation after he retrieved his phone from his bedroom, falling to the floor, telling her that he didn’t want any trouble. He denies striking the woman, grabbing her by the wrists, pushing or knocking her to the floor, or blocking her in the hallway.

The man claimed he got up and left the house, with the intention of getting in his truck to drive to the hospital to get an injection of Demerol for pain.

The man also claims he left enough room for the woman to leave, and only approached her vehicle to ask for a ride to the hospital, telling court that he felt he was in too much pain to be fit to drive.

The man was later arrested that evening for assault, but did not seek an ambulance before he was taken into custody, nor did he accept the RCMP’s offer of getting him medical attention. His ankle was found to be not broken upon release from custody.

Doulis said it's unlikely the woman would have left the residence in the way the man described, with the woman intent on gathering her belongings from the residence.

"She does not strike me as someone who would be derailed from her plans by a minor disagreement over the logistics of moving her belongings out of the residence. Her actions that evening are consistent with someone who was fleeing for safety," wrote Doulis.

The man's movement around the residence, rushing 10 or 15 metal stairs to get to his truck on a freezing-cold February day, and walking over to to the woman's Jeep also appears mismatched with the situation, explained Doulis.

"All this activity strikes me as unusually kinetic for someone who is in severe pain," wrote Doulis.

Doulis further explained that she believes some, but not all of the woman's testimony, noting she accepts there was physical contact between the two that caused the woman to leave, and was inclined to believe the testimony that the man pushed the palm of his hand into the woman's face.

However, Doulis said she was not persuaded that the man bounced the woman off the walls or threw her to the floor, considering his disabilities, nor did Doulis accept the claim that the man had brandished a knife. No knife was found on the man or at the scene.

"I cannot say I am satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that the Crown has proven all the elements of the offence of assault," Doulis noted.

Tom Summer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Alaska Highway News