Joshua Rex Mason was found guilty of a stabbing that left a Penticton man near death last summer.
“It’s yet another disturbing case of someone bringing a knife to a fist fight,” said Judge Gale Sinclair during his decision on Thursday afternoon.
While evidence was all over the map due to most of the witnesses being very intoxicated at the time of the incident, Sinclair said he did not believe Mason’s story and found him guilty of the July 2012 aggravated assault on Clayton Bonthoux. The judge said witnesses did see a punch to Bonthoux’s chest and unfortunately Mason’s hand held a knife.
“I didn’t stab him for any reason. I threw my hand up to block and he pulled it in,” said Mason during his testimony.
Mason said immediately he knew that Bonthoux got poked by the knife but he didn’t know how serious it was. Earlier in the trial, paramedic Derek Morris told the court that when he arrived on scene Bonthoux was “near death” as an artery below his clavicle was cut. A trauma nurse at Penticton hospital said Bonthoux was put in a medically induced coma and transported to Kelowna for surgery. He has since recovered but friends said he is not the same and seems mentally and physically slower.
Mason explained the knife was put in his hand by Pat Struyk who ordered him to come to Bonthoux’s residence at 296 Power St. Mason said he was scared of Struyk who was much larger than him, and Struyk was “raging” because their female friend Crystal Schram had been in a dust up at Bonthoux’s house earlier and was beaten up. Mason decided it would also be a good time for him to discuss a point of contention with Bonthoux about a social assistance rent cheque that would be coming to Bonthoux’s house on behalf of Mason. Judge Sinclair said he was satisfied that Mason went back to “even the score and win the point of the rent money.”
When Mason came to the gate he said Bonthoux ran over and took a swing at him. In that instant Mason said he put his arm up to block the punch and Bonthoux’s arm hooked around his and pulled back into Bonthoux’s chest, plunging the knife in.
“I don’t know. It was just a reaction like putting your foot on the brakes of a car. I didn’t mean to go there to hurt anybody,” said Mason.
The 31-year-old said he has lived in Penticton on and off several times and had been in serious altercations with gang members while living in the Lower Mainland which prompted his return in the summer of 2012.
Mason has been in custody since the incident and will undergo a pre-sentence report before returning to court on June 19 to fix a date for sentencing. Crown counsel Vern Frolick said Mason has 36 prior convictions mostly involving threats or violence and he will be seeking a “substantial federal sentence” as well possibly applying for dangerous long-term offender status.