St. Bride's man found not guilty of attempting to murder brother

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St. Bride's man found not guilty of attempting to murder brother

A man from St. Bride's, on the Cape Shore of Newfoundland's Avalon Peninsula, has been found not guilty of attempting to murder his brother.

Eugene Foley, 48, was convicted of the lesser charge of aggravated assault in a case fueled by what the presiding judge called "long-standing and deeply embedded" hatred.

The attack, which left a home in St. Bride's spattered with blood, happened in January 2015.

At trial, Eugene Foley claimed it was self-defence, that his brother had unexpectedly produced a knife. 

Glen Foley denied he had a knife and told the court his brother had come to his house armed with it and attacked him. Glen Foley said he was the one defending himself.

His injuries were severe. At the time, his wife Valerie said her husband required five hours of surgery. He had been stabbed in the back and neck and his face was slashed.

The Foleys' son, who was three at the time, had witnessed the attack, and refused to leave his father's side.

Bad blood

In his decision, Justice Garrett Handrigan said that Eugene Foley had phoned his brother to say he was coming to meet him. 

Handrigan writes: "In fact, he (Glen) says he told his brother to leave him alone, telling Eugene, with the evident contempt and the utter disdain that he has for his brother, 'Go on you f---in' bum, you have our father wet out,' meaning that Eugene Foley had taken all their father's money."

Glen Foley testified that his brother came at him with "froth coming from his mouth, shouting and spitting" in anger. 

He said Eugene Foley "came up with the knife and cut me across the face," saying "'I hate you, I've always hated you.'" 

Glen Foley said he asked his brother why he was doing it, and said he was "bleeding out," to which his brother replied "you'll bleed out now," and cut him again.

When his brother left, Glen Foley said he was able to call his wife, who was working nearby, and she called an ambulance.

In his account of what happened, Eugene Foley testified that Glen had rushed him and was "savage, shouting and singing out," and that Glen had a knife in his right hand.

Eugene said they struggled and he bit Glen's right forearm hoping to get him to drop the knife, but that didn't work, and they wrestled over the knife.

He said Glen got cut with the knife as they struggled over it. He said he was able to trip Glen and get away in his vehicle.

Follow the money

In finding Eugene Foley guilty of aggravated assault, but not of attempted murder, Judge Handrigan said said Eugene likely brought the knife because he was afraid of his brother.

"Glen Foley is a powerful, aggressive person who resorts readily to violent behaviour and has attacked Eugene many times before."

Handrigan noted that Eugene had accused Glen of cheating him out of wages for work in the crab fishery, claiming in a Facebook post that he was paid only $300 compared to the $10,000 he had helped his brother earn. 

Handrigan says the two were in constant conflict. "I need not review all instances. Suffice it to say that the history between them helps me understand the depth of the anger and hostility that Eugene and Glen have for each other."

Justice Handrigan said that Glen was bigger than Eugene and came out the winner when the two had fought before, but had never used a weapon against his brother. 

"I do not know how their enmity for each other began, but it appears to be long-standing and deeply embedded," the judge wrote in his decision.

Eugene Foley will be sentenced for aggravated assault April 17 at Supreme Court in St. John's. 

He also pleaded guilty to related charges of driving while disqualied, and breaching probation, but was found not guilty of assault with a weapon. It was alleged he had rammed an RCMP vehicle.