Hockey player found guilty of assault causing bodily harm

'There remains no justification for Mr. DeFrias punching Mr. Giddens'

Cam Fortems / Kamloops Daily News
December 11, 2012 01:00 AM

A former Kamloops Storm star was convicted Tuesday of assault causing bodily harm for landing two punches to the face of another club-goer.

Colten De Frias is scheduled to be sentenced in January.

De Frias was the leading scorer for the Storm in 2011, when the fight happened. He now plays for the TRU WolfPack hockey team.

A Thompson Rivers University spokesman said it is reviewing its own policies and those of the B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League to determine whether the conviction will affect De Frias's ability to continue playing. He is currently tied for fourth place in the league for points.

Crown lawyer Katie Bouchard said she will seek restitution for Andrew Giddens's medical expenses. Giddens suffered four broken teeth and a broken jaw.

"There remains no justification for Mr. De Frias punching Mr. Giddens," provincial court judge Chris Cleaveley said in his ruling.

The drunken fight outside a downtown nightclub happened in the early morning hours of Oct. 23 last year.

There is no dispute the hockey player, now 21, landed the punches on Giddens, who testified swinging once in self-defence before landing on the ground with damage to his face.

But two conflicting versions of events that night emerged during the trial.

The Crown claimed De Frias was the aggressor, attacking Giddens without provocation as groups of club-goers milled on and around Victoria Street.

Cleaveley noted De Frias told a nurse at Royal Inland Hospital, where he was treated for an injury to his right hand, that he punched Giddens because the 20-year-old pushed his girlfriend - Maggie Martin - something she also claimed.

"Do I believe Mr. Giddens pushed Ms. Martin?" Cleaveley asked. "The answer is 'no'… . He was attempting to justify the punch when he said this to the nurse."

Following what he claimed was a push at his girlfriend by Giddens, De Frias stormed over to the man whom he'd had words with once already that night. The two men were part of groups that had earlier argued.

Giddens testified he told De Frias to "chill out" and had his hands at his sides, palms facing outward. But De Frias wasn't interested in talk.

"He (De Frias) was in a foul mood and he lashed out at Mr. Giddens for no justifiable reason," Cleaveley said.

The fight was over with two punches from De Frias, which caused considerable facial damage.

De Frias claimed he came to the aid of his girlfriend and that Giddens engaged him in a consensual fight. He testified he understood from his hockey career when a fight is on because Giddens maintained eye contact and had his feet planted.

But Cleaveley rejected that evidence, saying "there's no air of reality to self-defence."

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