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Self defence claimed in knife attack
He admits he stabbed and seriously injured two men in Surrey last April.
But Anthony LaRose, according to his defence lawyer, was acting in self defence when he pulled out a knife and slashed Chris Hanna across the face and stabbed him three times in the stomach, and slit the neck of Saul Marshall.
LaRose’s trial began in New Westminster Supreme Court on Monday. He is charged with two counts of aggravated assault, two counts of assault with a weapon, and one count of possessing a weapon.
In his opening statement to the 12-member jury, Crown Counsel Craig Yamashiro said Hanna and Marshall, both 24 at the time, and a third friend were returning from an evening at the movies and a casino on April 3, 2010 when they stopped for cigarettes at a gas station near Fraser Highway and 156 Street.
Marshall heard glass shatter and a female scream, while Hanna heard a male and female arguing. While Marshall paid for the cigarettes, Hanna went to check out what was happening at the bus shelter across the street. When Marshall looked, he saw a man holding Hanna by the collar and ran to help his friend. The three men got in an altercation, pushing, shoving, kicking and yelling at one another.
When Hanna and Marshall turned to go, Yamashiro claimed, LaRose, 20, came after the unarmed young men with a 20-centimetre blade, inflicting “very significant injuries.”
Hanna suffered a 14-cm laceration to his face, was stabbed in his diaphragm, chest and stomach, underwent emergency surgery and was in hospital for 10 days. Marshall’s gash extended from below his ear to the centre of his neck. He lost 500 ml. of blood, underwent emergency surgery and spent three days in hospital.
After the incident, LaRose and the woman he was with fled, jumping a nearby fence by a trailer park. The knife was found and a police dog quickly located the woman. LaRose was then spotted lying flat on a roof and when police shouted his name, he jumped from the roof and tried to run, but was caught.
Defence lawyer Garry MacDonald argued the incident didn’t quite happen that way. He said LaRose, a large, tough-looking young man who’s spent much of his young life in jail, was out celebrating his recent release from prison on the night of the incident.
He was putting on a show for his girlfriend, kicking the bus shelter glass, and the two were laughing because they had missed the bus.
It was then, MacDonald told the jury, that LaRose was confronted by Hanna, who hit him first. Marshall soon joined in and LaRose warned the pair to back off. His girlfriend handed him a knife and LaRose initially waved it to scare the pair away. They didn’t back down, however, and he stabbed them. Unaware of the extent of the injuries and seeing a third man approaching, he and his girlfriend took off. Because of his past experience with police, LaRose knew he’d get blamed.
“This isn’t a whodunit – it’s a whydunit,” said MacDonald.
“Anthony LaRose did nothing more than any other reasonable person would have done under the circumstances.”
The trial continues.