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Bouncer claims patron wanted fight

A Maple Ridge bouncer on trial for assault claimed he was forced to intervene after the patron he is accused of punching attacked another customer.

Joseph Robert Calla gave his version of events to Ridge Meadows RCMP two days after the fight outside the Wolf Bar.

However, his tale of what happened on June 13, 2010 was markedly different from another witness who testified during the ongoing trial in New Westminster Supreme Court.

Calla told Cpl. Adam Gander that the scuffle between two patrons and bar security began just before the Wolf closed.

He said the men – Delane Parent and his friend Darren Saba – attempted to get a drink from the bartender at two minutes to 2 a.m. Calla said he explained to them that last call was 1:45 a.m., but was told to get lost.

Calla told the Mountie that he has a three strike rule.

“What we do after that is we either escort them out nicely or put them in wrist locks and walk them out of the bar,” he said in an interview played in court on Friday.

“I don’t want to be hurting people because they are potential clients.”

Calla and another bouncer, David Garnet Andrew Hecker, escorted Parent and Saba out of the bar and shut the doors.

Calla went inside the bar, but ran back outside five minutes later when he heard a loud noise.

Outside, he saw Hecker wrestling with one of the customers the bouncers had just escorted out.

Hecker was having a hard time holding the customer down, Calla told police, so he jumped in to help.

“I’m on top of him, trying to settle him and calm him down. He wanted to fight,” Calla claimed.

Calla said Hecker told him that the man, believed to be Parent, had just “sucker punched” another customer.

“If he’s going to be picking fights with our patrons, what are we supposed to do? We have no choice,” added Calla, a trained jujitsu instructor, who taught at the Fight Pit in Maple Ridge.

Cpl. Gander asked Calla to describe the customer Parent allegedly punched.

“I have no idea. I have only seen him that one time,” said Calla, describing the “kid” as a native man, who was 19 or 20 years old, 5-11 with brownish hair.

“… I have never seen him before.”

Calla acknowledged bar staff should have called police as soon as the scuffle began.

“But at that time, we were too busy trying to get everyone out,” he explained.

He also admitted that another officer had told him police were aware that doormen at the Wolf drink while on shift.

Calla acknowledge it was true, but promised to put a stop to it.

“Any incident goes down with our staff, we are held liable. As of the other day, I made it perfectly clear that whoever is caught drinking at the door, will lose their job,” he told police in the interview.

“I don’t like to run my place like this. I want everybody out, coolly and efficiently, without having any incidents.”

Calla’s story, however, changed in subsequent police interviews, according to Crown, and differs vastly from testimony given by a witness who was at the Wolf that night.

That witness, Kristy Cardinal, told the court that Calla dragged Parent out of the Wolf in a head lock.

She said she saw Calla straddle Parent and slap him on the face repeatedly, although Parent was not fighting back.

Police were called to the bar by Parent and his friend, who were also checked out by paramedics.

Parent was bleeding from the head but did not go to hospital. Two days later, he was found, lying in his house, by his brother, who was called by concerned colleagues after Parent failed to show up at work.

Parent had suffered a stroke caused by a dissection or tear in his left carotid artery, that doctors believe was caused by a blow to his neck.

He now lives in a home with 24-hour supervision. He walks with a limp and is unable to write or sign his name. The stroke also paralyzed his right hand.

Parent is unable to testify in court because the stroke affected his speech, but has attended each day of the trial.

Calla wasn’t the only bouncer to face charges in connection with the assault. Hecker was also charged with one count of aggravated assault. But the charge has since been stayed.

Police also used an undercover officer to gather evidence against Calla after he was arrested by planting the Mountie in his jail cell.

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