Guilty verdict in assault trial

A young Penticton man charged with stabbing two friends at a Halloween party in 2010 was found guilty by a BC Supreme Court jury Friday night.

Steven Michael Cameron, who was facing two counts of aggravated assault stemming from the incident, had his bail revoked and is now in custody.

At the heart of the matter was whether or not the accused acted in self- defense, when he got in a fight with one of the victims at the party.

Over the course of the trial, which began Tuesday, the jury heard from witnesses including the two friends, the accused and a RCMP officer.

The victims Cody McNeil and Derek Robertson described a day and night fueled by alcohol and cocaine that ended in a fight involving  the three of them in the basement of the home where the party was held.

The fight was mostly between Robertson and Cameron. McNeil  testified he got into the middle of it to break it up, when punches started flying.

During the altercation, Robertson was stabbed five times and McNeil twice.

Crown counsel John Swanson and defense lawyer Don Skogstad entered submissions on Thursday.

In his charge to the jury Friday morning, Justice Mark McEwan said the defense claimed Cameron was scared when Robertson, the host of the party, came upon him fast and aggressively.

The defense also stated that in Cameron’s evidence, he said he was being choked and the stabbing was all he could do to stop from being hurt.

Cameron had a history of being picked on and was  struggling with a large drunk man, the defense claimed.

There was no motive or previous animosity, according to the defense, who compared his client to women who are victims of crime.

McEwan stated in the crown’s submission, Swanson said drunkenness is not a defense in this case.

He suggested that Cameron was greatly intoxicated by alcohol and drugs but that doesn’t provide an excuse.

He said Cameron could have called for help and there were alternatives to stabbing and that his memory was highly selective, in that he remembered hands around his throat, but not pulling out the knife.

Nor does Cameron’s version of events fit the time frame. He was not acting in self-defense, he was waiting to use the knife.

The only reasonable  inference is Cameron and Robertson got into an argument, and when Cameron was asked to leave the party, he lost it and stabbed them both, according to Swanson.

During the deliberations, the jury asked if Cameron was found guilty of one, was he automatically guilty of the other.

They also asked to hear McNeil’s testimony for a second time.

Cameron will be sentenced on April 29.

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