Surveillance video shows accused appear to wipe off knife following fatal stabbing

Cleaning knife after stabbing

Surveillance footage taken shortly after Esa Carriere was fatally stabbed in downtown Kelowna shows a man wiping what appears to be a knife off on a curb. And during cross examination Friday, Noah Vaten said he believes the man in the video is himself.

Vaten and Nathan Truant's manslaughter trial began in February, and while it was supposed to last three weeks, the trial has faced multiple delays. While the latest extension was scheduled to wrap up Friday, Crown prosecutor Colin Forsyth was unable to finish his cross examination of Vaten Friday afternoon.

Forsyth spent much of Friday in court playing Vaten a number of downtown Kelowna surveillance videos from the night Carriere was killed.

But Vaten maintained throughout the cross examination that he doesn't remember the evening, due to his intoxication from alcohol and cocaine. The Crown maintains that Vaten delivered a fatal stab wound to Carriere's chest while a group punched and kicked Carriere on the ground near the Queensway Bus loop.

Following the altercation that left Carriere dead, the videos show three people leaving the area to the north, between Kasugai Gardens and City Hall. Flashes of light from the evening's fireworks light up the Kasugai Gardens area as the three people walk away.

While the clips don't clearly show the three people's faces, Forsyth suggested it was Truant, Vaten and Vaten's ex-girlfriend, who was hanging out with their group that night.

In a clip from the alleyway between Kasugai Gardens and the Memorial Arena, one of the three people can be seen stopping near some dumpsters, bending down and wiping something on the curb.

Vaten agreed with Forsyth that the man appears to be himself, and that he appeared to be wiping off a knife on the curb. But he maintains that he does not remember any of the night's events taking place.

“I have no personal recollection of these events happening, so I don't want to sit here and say 'Yes, that's me,' with no memory of doing it,” Vaten said. “I personally believe that's me from watching the video.”

Video from later in the night shows Vaten and Truant boarding a city bus. Footage from inside the bus shows Vaten talking to a woman he knew, and at one point, he hugs her.

Vaten testified he believed he was flirting with the woman, in an attempt to make his ex-girlfriend jealous, but Forsyth suggested Vaten was telling her he had stabbed someone that night.

Upon his arrest in January 2019, Vaten told his cellmate, who was actually an undercover officer, that while he was on the bus ride home, he had admitted to stabbing someone. Vaten also confessed to an RCMP officer during his interrogation. But Friday, Vaten said he doesn't actually remember the events of the evening, and that he had only told police what he had heard from others.

Footage from inside the downtown Kelowna RCMP's “drunk tank” was also played in court, showing Vaten and his cellmate several hours after Carriere was killed. Vaten had been arrested that night for kicking the Rutland RCMP detachment's window, while yelling “f*** the police,” but despite having blood-covered hands and police finding a knife in his backpack, Vaten was not a suspect in Carriere's death at this time.

Vaten's cellmate that night previously testified Vaten had told him he had stabbed someone, and Vaten admitted Friday that the footage shows himself appearing to make stabbing motions in the cell. There is no audio from the cell videos though.

Forsyth also played footage from inside Vaten's friend's garage on the morning of July 2, 2018, after Vaten had been released from the drunk tank. The friend previously testified that during this conversation, Vaten admitted he had stabbed someone. But Vaten claims their conversation centred around the fact he had used cocaine the night prior, and his friend was upset with him. While the video has no audio, Forsyth remained skeptical of Vaten's explanation, due to Vaten's actions in the footage.

“Do you have any explanation then for how producing the knife, making a punching gesture, pointing to your right cheek to the area where you're clearly indicating you were punched, and then you making motions that is essentially, as you agreed, consistent with stabbing motions; can you tell us how that all fits in to the discussion about using the cocaine?” Forsyth asked.

“I cannot answer that, no,” Vaten replied “When I originally saw this footage in court, I was very conflicted because this footage is completely different from how I remember this conversation happening.”

After taking longer than scheduled, Vaten's cross examination has been pushed to next week, while an additional day is needed in early October for both the Crown and defence to deliver their closing statements.

“The best laid plans...” Justice Alison Beames said at the end of the day Friday, clearly frustrated with the trial once again going longer than planned.

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