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Trial begins for man accused of Penticton bar stabbing
The victim of a knife attack at a Penticton bar found himself under attack again Tuesday as he was cross-examined at trial about previous run-ins with the man who allegedly stabbed him.
Joshua Pio, 24, is charged with aggravated assault and assault with a weapon in relation to the stabbing around 1 a.m. on Jan. 1, 2012, at The Barking Parrot.
A nine-man, three-woman jury is hearing the case this week in B.C. Supreme Court in Penticton.
Crown counsellor Mallory Treddenick told jurors in her opening address that witnesses would testify Pio fought with Dwayne Gabriel, 26, inside the bar and that Pio had a knife in his hand.
She said Pio fled the scene afterwards and was located by police around 3 a.m. at his father’s house, where a bloody knife and clothing were also found.
Gabriel, who was the first witness called, told the court Pio had made racist comments about him on Facebook, so when he saw Pio at the bar he asked the younger man for an explanation.
The conversation, which started in a booth at the rear of the venue, quickly turned physical.
“He said, ‘I’m not scared of you,’ then he jumped up and flipped the table,” Gabriel recalled. “Then he said, ‘I’ll (expletive) kill you,’ and came at me.”
Gabriel said the two exchanged multiple blows before the fight was broken up by bouncers, and it was only after the melee ended that he noticed a blade poking out from one of Pio’s fists.
Photos provided to the jury showed three stitched-up stab wounds, each about five centimetres in length, on Gabriel’s upper left arm and back.
The victim said he has “a phobia with ambulances,” and, despite bleeding heavily after the attack, only went to hospital for treatment a few hours later at the urging of his father.
Under cross-examination by defence counsel Ian McAndrews, Gabriel testified he hadn’t seen Pio for about five years before the night in question and there was no animosity between the two acquaintances.
McAndrews suggested, however, that Gabriel had assaulted and humiliated Pio at least three times in the past.
“Do you remember an occasion where you took your shoe off and demanded that Mr. Pio kiss it, otherwise you were going to beat him up?” McAndrews asked.
“No,” Gabriel replied.
McAndrews said Pio “was scared to death” of Gabriel and didn’t even have a Facebook page on which to post the alleged derogatory comments.
Pio, a thin man dressed in a grey dress shirt and black pants, stared straight ahead and did not show any emotion during Gabriel’s testimony. The two appeared to make eye contact only when Gabriel was asked to point out his attacker in the courtroom.