Wednesday April 16, 2014

Baseball bat attack 'a brave and kind act'

Hearing to determine what really happened behind Cactus Jack's nightclub

A TRU student from Zimbabwe who accosted a man he believed had sexually assaulted a woman committed “a brave and kind act,” his defence lawyer said Monday.

But the Crown’s account of Kudzai Mujuru’s attack with a baseball bat on another man in an alley behind Cactus Jack’s nightclub differs so much that a hearing is scheduled to find out what really happened.

Mujuru pleaded guilty to assault with a weapon and was set to be sentenced Monday in provincial court. But Crown lawyer Neil Flanagan said he was surprised by the account given by defence lawyer Richard Begin.

Even though Mujuru pleaded guilty, the facts from each side are so different that Judge Len Marchand ordered a hearing to determine what happened in the alley on Nov. 3 last year.

Begin, who acknowledges his client used too much force, said Mujuru faces the possibility of being deported as a result of his crime. He is seeking a conditional discharge.

But Flanagan noted Mujuru also faces unrelated charges, including driving while prohibited, breaching his bail conditions and another charge of assault.

The Crown alleges the slight man knocked out teeth of a fellow patron at Cactus Jack’s, bragging about it in a post on Twitter.

Flanagan also read an account from a security guard who witnessed the attack in the alley.

The guard said he watched Mujuru, a woman and another, larger man — over 200 pounds — arguing about an alleged sexual assault earlier.

Mujuru pulled out a hidden baseball bat, hitting the other man in the temple, making a “loud, popping noise.” He swung a second time but missed, the guard told police in a sworn statement.

The hearing to better determine the facts will be held at a later date.

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