Western News Staff
A man on trial for a barroom stabbing in Penticton has been found not guilty by a jury.
In B.C. Supreme Court on Monday Joshua Norman Pio was found not guilty of aggravated assault and assault with a weapon for an incident that took place on Jan. 1, 2012 at the Barking Parrot.
Pio wiped away a tear while standing in the prisoner’s box when the jury put forward the first not guilty verdict.
The 24-year-old received a hug from his mom after both verdicts were read.
“I am very happy that God came through,” he said. “I am happy they saw the truth and I was hoping God went into their hearts.”
Pio’s mother gave her son a hug and broke down sobbing afterwards saying she was very relieved.
The nine-man, three woman jury was told by Justice Al Betton during his charge on Monday that “in this case credibility is an issue,” and the testimony of the two parties involved in the fight differed significantly. The jury came back to court within two hours with a decision.
Pio testified during the trial he was victimized by the man he stabbed, Dwayne Gabriel.
He said Gabriel had beat him up at high school three times and he was swarmed by a group of attackers who put him in the hospital for about six months. Self-protection was his reasoning for carrying the knife used in the stabbing.
Pio said Gabriel approached him at the bar and asked to him to sit at a table to discuss alleged racist remarks Pio made about the man on Facebook.
Pio tried to leave and said Gabriel and another man blocked his exit and asked if he wanted to get beat up in front of everyone. Pio tried to leave anyway and said he faced punches from Gabriel that broke his nose and that is when he pulled out the knife.
“I stabbed him twice in the arm area hoping he’d stop hitting me,” said Pio, adding later he took off from the bar “running for his life.”
Gabriel testified he received stab wounds to his arm, back and head.
He alleged Pio was the aggressor, and said he was going to kill Gabriel. Contrary to Pio’s story, Gabriel told the court he hadn’t seen Pio for about five years before the fight and there was no animosity between the two. Security staff at the bar said they saw blows exchanged both ways that night.
Pio was later arrested at his father’s apartment and RCMP seized a 10-centimetre blade that was used in the attack.