Closing arguments in bar stabbing trial

Jurors heard the closing arguments in a bar stabbing trial on Friday in a Penticton court room.

The jury trial for Joshua Pio, 24,  started Tuesday. He is facing charges of aggravated assault and assault with a weapon, stemming from the incident that took place Jan. 1, 2012 at The Barking Parrot.

Defence lawyer Ian McAndrews said this is a case of a bully, and how when that goes unchecked it can be dire.

Dwayne Gabriel, (the victim), will carry scars for the rest of his life and Pio faces the possibility of a criminal record.

He suggested that Pio has been described as skinny and Gabriel being superior both physically and in age stuck with him for life.

One of the difficulties the jury will have with the case, he stated, is the different versions given by witnesses.

He reminded them it was New Year's Eve and in talking to patrons of a bar, you will get different stories.

The one thing they can all agree on is Gabriel wanted to talk to Pio. With the accused saying Gabriel approached him, called out his name and put his arm around his shoulder.

He, Pio, meekly went along, said McAndrews, hoping he was going to apologize for beating him up in the past.

Then for some unknown reason, Gabriel says Pio is posting stuff on his Facebook page, which Pio denies, saying he didn't have a Facebook page. 

In terms of the fight itself, McAndrews claimed, Pio has the knife to protect himself, from what has happened in the past.

He told the jury you have to put yourself in Pio's shoes, he has been beaten up before, so he protects himself,

But rather than using the knife in a flailing manner, he measures his response and is careful with the knife.

McAndrews closed his submissions, by urging the jury to acquit his client.

Crown counsel Nashina Devji told the jury, that Pio went to The Barking Parrot armed with a knife and with this knife he stabbed Gabriel repeatedly.

This taking place at a time, when Gabriel was winding up his night and planning on going home.

As he walked in from outside, he saw Pio there, he had not seen him in four or five years and invited him to have a seat with him. He didn't force him to come, and never expected the conversation would turn physical, she said.

She stated the two did throw punches at each other, the problem here was it was not a fair fight. 

Other witnesses, described Pio as the aggressor, purely raging.

Devji said absolutely there were some inconsistencies, with people recalling things slightly differently .

But she suggested when it is all put together, you come up with a consistent picture.

Nor is Pio's evidence to be believed, she suggested, with the accused using image management, telling people different things to make himself look good.

Furthermore, she stated, Pio tells us he was afraid of Gabriel, a man he had not seen in almost five years.

"If you went into a restaurant or a bar and saw someone you were very afraid of, would you stay," she said.

Devji concluded her submissions, stating Pio was not a man acting in self defence. Instead, he was a man who went to the bar, armed, looking for a fight and he found one.

The judge is expected to address the jury Monday morning.



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