An argument over the merits of pit bulls led to the fight that landed one man in hospital and another in court, Justice Kirk Sisson heard in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench on Tuesday.
Red Deer resident Chance McClellan-Hughes, 21, is on trial by judge alone, charged with aggravated assault after stepping into an argument between two others attending a house party in Johnstone Park on April 18, 2012.
Witness Carrie Walton, 26, testified that Coleman Rasmusson, whom she had invited to the party, got into an argument with a woman who lives in the house and was ordered to leave. Rasmusson, 31, was bent over at the entry to the house, putting on his shoes, when he called her a vulgar name.
Walton testified that McClellan-Hughes was standing nearby and asked Rasmusson to repeat what he had just said.
When he did, McClellan-Hughes struck him in the side of the head with a glass, then ran up the stairs with Rasmusson on his heels and locked himself in the bathroom.
Walton testified that she saw blood pouring from the side of Rasmusson’s face.
He came back down the stairs and had just left the house when someone threw a bottle through the front window, she said.
Police witnesses testified they were called to a complaint about the broken window and that McClellan-Hughes was arrested at the scene for assault with a weapon.
RCMP Const. Adam Szucki, who made the arrest, testified that he changed the charge to the more serious offence of aggravated assault at the request of an officer who attended hospital with the complainant.
Crown prosecutor Jason Snider said at the start of the trial that Rasmusson was taken to hospital and suffered lingering injuries as a result of the blow.
Defence counsel Arnold Piragoff of Edmonton said his defence will include elements of provocation and self defence.
The trial was adjourned at the conclusion of the Snider’s case because Piragoff discovered that a key witness had not been subpoenaed to testify. Piragoff advised Sisson that his client’s case could turn on what the missing witness has to say.
Originally scheduled for three days, the trial was adjourned to give Piragoff time to subpoena his witness.
Piragoff and his client return to court on March 3 to set a date for Sisson to hear their case.