Wednesday April 16, 2014

Bar brawl described in court: trio attacked after exiting bus

'There was blood everywhere. I’ll never forget how he looked up at me in panic'

Two men are on trial after a wild melee outside Westyder pub that left two victims with concussions and a third with other injuries.

At issue is identity of the men, tracked by a police dog on a nighttime foot chase through the residential neighbourhood.

Jean-Claude Auger is charged with two counts of aggravated assault and a third count of assault causing bodily injury while Brian Tweedhope is charged with two counts of aggravated assault.

The trial began in B.C. Supreme Court Tuesday. Originally scheduled to be in front of a jury, the two men elected instead to stand trial by judge alone.

Stephanie Dondaneau, an aircraft mechanic with Canadian Armed Forces, testified Friday that she and three others arrived at the pub on its shuttle bus on Jan. 29, 2011. All were drinking at a house party and had called for a ride to the pub.

Within moments of arriving she saw her friend, Shawn Beaver get into an argument with a man standing just outside the bus.

“When I stepped off the bus, there was already an altercation,” said Dondaneau.

“I remember him (Shawn) hitting the ground,” she said. “I didn’t see the punch. He just crumpled.”

Dondaneau said it appeared that her father, who was also getting off the shuttle bus, tried to intervene to break up the fight.

“Next thing I remember was my dad on the ground with one of the guys straddling him, hitting him over and over . . . . There was blood everywhere. I’ll never forget how he looked up at me in panic.”

Dondaneau said her father’s attacker also took a swing at her, saying “I’ll take you out next, bitch.”         

The Crown alleges the two men assaulted her father — Glen Dondaneau — as well as Doug Hart and Beaver, who was also outside the pub.

Defence lawyer Chris Thompson asked Stephanie Dondaneau if she could recall details about the assailant. She said only the attacker was taller than her, about six-feet or six-feet, one-inch. She could not recognize him in the courtroom.

She said her father did not know who she was after the fight. He was taken to hospital.

Earlier in the trial, a police dog handler testified he tracked two men down sidestreets, through yards and a trailercourt, over four fences and down the shore of the North Thompson River.

Const. Dave Lewis said the conditions for tracking suspects were nearly ideal, with little wind. Police dog Zak tracked two men on a journey that included climbing a two-metre fence as well as another 1.2-metre fence topped with razor wire.

With the aid of a flashlight to show the wire, the dog leapt the shorter fence and climbed the taller fence with Lewis’s help. Eventually, Tweedhope and Auger were arrested on the riverbank, where Zak traced the pair standing beside a tree.

One of the two arrested had a cut and ripped clothing.

The trial is scheduled to continue Monday.

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