‘Bouncer dragged patron out in head lock’

Joe Calla charged with aggravated assault in Maple Ridge bar fight.

A Maple Ridge man who was sustained life-altering injuries after a fight outside a bar two years ago did nothing to provoke the assault, a trial heard on Monday.

Kristy Cardinal told the court that Del Parent and his friend Darren Saba were forcefully ejected from the Wolf Bar after a bartender refused to serve them drinks.

Cardinal was standing in line with Parent and Saba on June 13, 2010 when the bartender yelled last call.

Cardinal said Saba asked the bartender to serve him one more drink, noting he was already in line.

When he asked for a drink a second time, Cardinal said the bartender told Saba he would be kicked out.

Undeterred, Saba pleaded once more and was turfed out of the Wolf by a bouncer.

Cardinal said Parent was then grabbed by a second bouncer, who has since been identified as Joseph Robert Calla.

“He put him in a  head lock and dragged him out,” said Cardinal, who travelled from Alberta to testify against Calla, on trial for aggravated assault.

Cardinal yelled at Calla to stop. She said after Calla threw Parent out he returned to the bar to tell her “your friends are OK, don’t worry about them.”

But minutes later she heard yelling outside the bar, which is accessed via an alley off Lougheed Highway.

Cardinal said she went outside to see if Parent and Saba were causing the commotion.

She told the court she saw Calla on top of Parent. She claimed Calla was straddling Parent, slapping him in the face and yelling at him.

“[Parent] was trying to protect himself,” she said, adding she yelled at Calla to stop.

Cardinal went back inside the Wolf after the altercation ended, but encountered Saba and Parent in the parking lot a short while later when the Wolf closed.

Saba was angry, she told the court, and was waiting for police. He told Cardinal “we were attacked” and asked her to wait until officers arrived to give police a statement.

Cardinal said while speaking to Saba, she noticed Parent had blood trickling down his forehead.

Police arrived and took statements. Paramedics checked both men at the scene.

Parent went home, believing his injuries were not serious. Two days later, however, on June 15, he was discovered lying semi-conscious in his living room by his brother André, who was called by co-workers when Parent didn’t show up for work.

Doctors believe Parent’s injuries were caused by a blow to the head or neck that damaged his carotid artery.

The artery swelled over two days, slowly cutting off blood flow that resulted in a massive stroke.

Crown prosecutor Janet Dickie said Parent will not be testifying during the trial because he is unable to communicate.

“Mr. Calla is responsible for all the injuries sustained by Del Parent,” Dickie said in her opening statement.

“There was no justification for the assault. It was an unlawful assault.”

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

Dickie noted Calla’s explanation is one of “defence of property”.

Although there were several witnesses, investigating the assault wasn’t easy for police.

Ridge Meadows RCMP held a press conference a few weeks after the assault, when Parent’s family pleaded for witnesses to come forward.

Police also planted an undercover officer in a jail cell with Calla after he was arrested to extract more evidence. Another bouncer was charged along with Calla, but the charge against him has since been stayed.

Const. Erika Rast, the primary investigator, told the court Monday that some patrons were not “forthcoming” with information during police interviews.

Calla’s lawyer, Mani Sandhu, asked Rast why police had not investigated other possible suspects, suggesting Parent could have been injured in a home invasion.

Rast told Sandhu there was no evidence of a home invasion in Parent’s house.

“The focus was on the doormen,” said Rast.

A trial for Calla continues in New Westminster Supreme Court. It is expected to last 15 days.

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