Crown says Surrey partybus brawl ‘screams’ for greater regulation

NEW WESTMINSTER – Emmanuel Dario will be sentenced in March for his role in a "bloody and senseless" Cloverdale brawl in 2012 involving teenagers who’d just got off a party bus.

A jury in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster found Dario guilty of two counts of aggravated assault, but not guilty of a third charge of aggravated assault and assault with a weapon.

The July 18, 2012 brawl erupted between recent high school graduates and Dario, a motorist who crossed their path behind a Husky gas station at 176th Street and Highway 10.

"This case is a tragic example of what can happen when underaged teens are allowed to get drunk on ‘party buses,’" Crown prosecutor Winston Sayson said. "The bloody and senseless violence in this case screams for greater regulation and monitoring of party bus operators."

A charter bus carrying about 50 young people during an after-grad celebration made a pit stop at the Husky Station late that Wednesday night.

"They’re from all over Surrey, these youth," Surrey RCMP Sgt. Drew Grainger said at the time. "This confrontation quickly escalated violently and was fueled by a toxic mix of alcohol, testosterone and poor judgment."

Some young men, most of them 18 or 19 years old, were milling around in the back parking lot when a minivan drove up and all hell broke loose. The minivan’s windows were smashed in. Grainger said someone loosed a cloud of bear spray after the driver, a 22-year-old Surrey man, got out of his vehicle.

Roughly a dozen cop cars arrived at the scene, as well as five ambulances and two fire trucks.

Dario told the jury he had acted in self-defence after one of the party bus riders slashed his chest and others trashed his van.

The jury heard he whacked three victims on the head with a two-by-four and threw a rock at a fourth person.

Sayson argued that Dario had acted out of anger and vengeance, responding with disproportionate force on people who had nothing to do with the slashing or vandalism.

The jury and Justice Murray Blok heard from 23 witnesses for the Crown and two for the defence during the 11-day trial, from Oct. 14 to 28. The jury deliberated for two days before returning its verdict on Tuesday.

Dario’s sentencing hearing is set for March 5.

tzytaruk@thenownewspaper.com

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