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Man charged in Vancouver riot stabbing may see charges dropped

Gloria M. Ng, a lawyer that represents Joshua Lyle Evans who is accused of stabbing Sunny Jaura during last week's riots, speaks to reporters outside the Downtown Community Court in Vancouver, Wednesday, June 22, 2011. Rafal Gerszak for The Globe and Mail

Rafal Gerszak for The Globe and Mail/rafal gerszak The Globe and Mail

A man who says police found him with a knife during last week's Stanley Cup riots because he had taken it from a stranger who stabbed the man's friend may soon see criminal charges against him dropped, his lawyer says.

Matthew Nathanson says 27-year-old Joshua Lyle Evans is a victim of the massive police sweep through the city core due to the riot.

"There's clearly a real public interest in bringing the participants of the riot to justice and to do so swiftly. At the same time, it is extremely important to make sure innocent people are not swept up in these events," he said Wednesday in an interview.

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"Unfortunately, that is exactly what has happened to my client."

Mr. Evans has been charged with possession of a dangerous weapon - a knife. Another man, Edgar Ricardo Garcia, has been charged with aggravated assault in the same incident.

"I am hopeful when (the Crown) do have that full picture, they will do the right thing and immediately withdraw charges against my client," Mr. Nathanson said.

Crown spokesman Neil MacKenzie said the Crown isn't ruling out the possibility of acting on such a submission.

Mr. MacKenzie said police and what he described, without elaboration, as "other sources" have provided the Crown with new information in the case.

"The branch is always prepared to review any charging decision whenever additional evidence becomes available," he said.

"When additional material is provided to the Crown, we obviously review it and take into account whether it affects a decision that's been made."

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But he said he could not further comment because talks between the criminal justice branch and defence lawyers are treated as confidential.

Constable Jana McGuinness, a spokeswoman for the Vancouver Police Department, said in an e-mail that the force could not comment on any aspect of the case because it is now before the courts.

During a court hearing Wednesday, the proceedings against Mr. Evans were put over to July 19. Mr. Evans did not attend the hearing, and has declined comment on the whole matter.

After watching the game in a bar, Mr. Evans was among a group of friends who came on four men beating up two younger men, says Sunny Jaura, a friend of Mr. Evans'.

"They were getting beat down," he said.

Mr. Jaura says when he and his friends tried to intervene, he was stabbed in the back, and fell to the ground.

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He said it is his understanding that Mr. Evans took the knife from the man who stabbed him, but that he relied on the accounts of others because he was down.

Police found Mr. Evans with the knife when they arrived on the scene, and arrested him.

Mr. Jaura said Mr. Evans did not carry his own knife.

"Josh never, ever carries a knife. Never ever. There's no reason to. No one is going hunting in the city," he said.

He said his friend has no criminal record. "He's a quiet person in life. This is attention he doesn't like. He wants to get on with his life," he said.

Mr. Jaura was treated in hospital and is now recovering at home.

"To be stabbed four inches (in) and not hit an organ? (I am) very, very lucky," he said.

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About the Author
B.C. reporter

Ian Bailey is a Vancouver-based reporter for The Globe and Mail.  He covers politics and general news. Prior to arriving at The Globe and Mail, he reported from Toronto and St. John’s for The Canadian Press.  He has also covered British Columbia for CP, The National Post and The Province. More

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