SURREY — A Surrey man accused of grabbing and punching another man who was being stabbed three times outside a booze can in Whalley has been acquitted of aggravated assault.
Justice Frits Verhoeven acquitted Michael Ross of the crime following a trial in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster.
Morgan Nicholson has been convicted of aggravated assault for stabbing Roger Snow three times in his chest and stomach area during an after-hours party on June 10, 2012, outside a basement suite near 101st Avenue and 132nd Street.
Nicholson was arrested five weeks after the stabbing. She was sentenced to nine and a half months and three years' probation,
Ross was charged as being a party to the assault during which Snow was stabbed.
The Crown argued that Ross had grabbed Snow's T-shirt from behind and punched him twice in the head as Nicholson was stabbing him.
The court heard Snow got up, ran away and hailed a taxi that took him to Surrey Memorial Hospital.
Snow arrived at the emergency department shirtless and bleeding. "Mr. Snow could have died without proper medical treatment," Verhoeven noted. One of the stab wounds cut into Snow's liver and was about 10 centimetres deep. He remained in hospital for five days.
The court heard Nicholson, who was 22 at the time, was living in Surrey but had been partying hard with friends in downtown Vancouver until arriving at the booze can - an unlicensed bar - at about 3 a.m. She testified she'd blacked out more than once that night, and had done "significant amounts" of pot and cocaine.
About 30 people were at the party, celebrating Ross's birthday.
Snow arrived with a buddy and two young women at about 4 a.m., coming from a party in Langley where he had drank six beers and smoked some pot.
The court heard Snow knew Ross and Nicholson well, as they grew up in the same part of Surrey.
Nicholson hugged him, and Ross shook his hand. They offered Snow tequila but he declined and bought another beer instead.
Snow then wandered into a bedroom to smoke some pot, and Nicholson followed. She got into an argument with a guy named Gordy.
Snow tried to intervene and Nicholson punched him in the head.
"In response, he pushed her against the wall," Verhoeven noted. Snow then went outside and was at the end of the driveway when he turned and saw Nicholson coming at him with a knife.
Snow testified that he tried to dodge her, hopping over a rail fence into a schoolyard and putting a parked car between them, when Ross grabbed him from behind and punched him twice. Snow told the court that there were at least six onlookers but none moved to help him.
Verhoeven said he accepted that while there was a second person involved in the assault, he was not satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that it had been Ross.
"There is no corrobative evidence, physical or otherwise, linking Mr. Ross to the assault," the judge found. Verhoeven noted that Snow had told police several hours after the assault that he didn't know who the second assailant was but thought his name might have been Mike.
"This is a very peculiar description for an individual that Mr. Snow knew well for many years prior to the incident in question, and who Mr. Snow identified with complete clarity and certainty at trial," Verhoeven said.
Snow claimed he was in pain and "a little bit out of it" when he spoke with police, but the judge found "no confirmatory evidence that he'd been "anything less than fully lucid the whole time.
"It is therefore possible that a person other than the accused was involved in the assault," Verhoeven decided.
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