Four very intoxicated young men took taxi. Accused and his friend did not pay their taxi fare. Friend punched taxi driver knocking him to ground unconscious. Three independent witnesses testified that they observed accused strike taxi driver with metal rod shortly before friend punched victim. Then accused kicked victim several times as he lay on ground. Victim suffered serious head injury and was in coma for five days and hospitalized for 19 days. He suffered from continued injury to his brain, including permanent loss of his sense of smell. Video camera installed in taxi also confirmed that accused entered taxi approximately five minutes before assault occurred. Accused charged with one count of aggravated assault. Friend pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and was sentenced to period of time in prison. Neither friend’s nor accused’s evidence was believable. Independent witnesses gave consistent evidence on all of substantive details of incident. At moment that taxi driver confronted them about not paying taxi fare, friend and accused formed common intention of pursuing unlawful purpose of assaulting taxi driver and assisted each other in carrying out assault. Accused guilty both as co-perpetrator in committing aggravated assault as charged and as party to offence of aggravated assault by assisting friend by hitting victim with metal rod on back of head and also by delivering more than one kick to victims’ body while he lay unconscious on ground. Accused found guilty of aggravated assault.
R. v. Saraj
(Jan. 13, 2012, Ont. S.C.J., Smith J., File No. 09-A11518) 99 W.C.B. (2d) 202 (15 pp.).