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Kelowna  

Jail for savage sucker punch

A late-night sucker punch outside of a Kelowna nightclub that put a man in a coma has netted the puncher five years behind bars.

Steven Edward Kollie sat in a holding room in custody, sporting a prison-issued red sweatsuit, streaming on video into the Kelowna courtroom last Friday.

He had previously pled guilty for aggravated assault stemming from a Sept. 6, 2014, incident outside Sapphire Nightclub.

Victim Michael Martin sat in the courtroom at the sentencing hearing.

Martin had been involved in a fight with an associate of Kollie earlier in the evening in or around the Liquid Zoo.

Martin reportedly lost the fight, then the two went their separate ways. Later, the two met each other at the same location, this time with two of Martin’s friends involved and Kollie’s associate ended up losing the second round.

Martin and his two friends left the Liquid Zoo and made their way to Sapphire Nightclub.

Their entrance and Kollie and his friend’s arrival later at the bar were both caught on film.

The two men are seen talking to a bouncer at the door of Sapphire. The bouncer enters the building and is next seen bringing Martin out of the bar in what the judge described as a “chokehold.”

“Mr. Martin, a much smaller individual, was literally carried off his feet from the nightclub,” the judge said.

After his removal from the bar, Martin remained outside, talking on a cellphone.

“He certainly does not appear to me to be agitated, angry or aggressive,” the judge said.

In the video, Kollie’s friend begins talking to Martin outside the bar, while Kollie comes from behind Martin and “sucker punches him in the face,” according to the judge.

“Mr. Martin is literally unconscious on his feet, falls back and hits his head on the street,” said the judge. “He is rushed to the hospital suffering a number of serious injuries, including a skull fracture, internal brain bleed and significant brain injury.”

Martin fell into a coma for a period of time, and has been going through rehabilitation since. He has not been able to return to his old job due to the brain damage he suffered and has found “more menial work.”

“The attack on Mr. Martin, while only a single punch, was savage, unprovoked and clearly pre-meditated,” the judge said. “Mr. Martin was totally defenceless. He never had a chance.”

Kollie was arrested for the attack on Feb. 24, 2015, and has been in custody ever since.

The judge said Kollie has expressed regret and remorse for his actions. Kollie had said he had been concerned Martin and his friends would beat him up, prompting the unprovoked blow.

The judge did not accept this rationale.

“It’s fair to say the accused appear to be men, and the victims, Mr. Martin, and his friends, boys,” he said. “There is absolutely nothing before me to suggest that there is any basis for Mr. Kollie’s stated fear of Mr. Martin or his friends.”

Kollie, a father of four from Edmonton, is no stranger to the law, with 31 prior convictions.

He most recently was given a four-year sentence for a robbery in the Edmonton area in 2011, and he was just a few months off probation when the Kelowna assault took place.

“A review of his record would indicate that he has been almost continually in custody since 2006,” the judge said.

Kollie will serve another three years and three months in prison, after receiving credit for 644 days of time served.

A civil suit is also ongoing between Martin and Kollie. 

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