Penticton man admits stabbing, says he used to be the victim

A man who admitted to a barroom stabbing in Penticton told a jury he was previously victimized by the person he knifed and acted in self-defence.

Joshua Pio is standing trial in front of a jury in B.C. Supreme Court in Penticton on single counts of aggravated assault and assault with a weapon in connection with the incident early on Jan. 1, 2012,  at The Barking Parrot.

During testimony Thursday, the 24-year-old said he’d been beaten up by his victim, Dwayne Gabriel, on three occasions in high school.

Pio also said he was swarmed by a group of attackers who put him in the hospital about six months prior to the New Year’s Eve altercation and carried a knife after that to protect himself.

On the night of the stabbing, said Pio, Gabriel approached him at the bar and asked him to sit at his table, where they discussed racist remarks Pio had purportedly made about his victim.

Pio told Gabriel he didn’t want any trouble and got up to leave, but Gabriel and another man blocked his exit, then Gabriel told him: “Do you want me to beat you up in front of everyone?”

Pio said he began moving away and said, “Please don’t harm me. Stay the (expletive) away from me,” then faced a barrage of punches from Gabriel that broke his nose, prompting him to pull out his knife.

“I stabbed him twice in the arm area hoping he’d stop hitting me,” said Pio, adding later he took off from the bar “running for his life.”

Gabriel, 26, testified earlier in the week he received stab wounds to his arm, back and head, and said Pio was the aggressor that night.

Pio, who works as a bartender and security guard, denied that under cross-examination.

He also denied throwing any punches during the fight, although security staff on duty at the bar that night told the court they saw blows exchanged both ways.

Shaun Lund, one of the bouncers who rushed in to stop the melee, testified the combatants were engaged in “a pretty big fist fight.”

Gabriel eventually managed to push Pio away, which caused Pio to stumble. When Pio regained his balance, he still had the knife in his hand but looked “scared,” Lund said.

“I’m thinking he was looking around expecting somebody to jump on him,” said the bouncer.

Gabriel, meanwhile, had blood “all down his head, face and torso. It was just everywhere,” said Lund.

Pio was arrested hours later at his fathers’ apartment, where a folding knife with a 10-centimetre blade used in the attack was seized.

Closing arguments are scheduled for Friday and the jury is expected to begin deliberations Monday.


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