A man has been found not guilty of slashing and disfiguring a teen’s face at a Surrey house party, despite the trial judge’s opinion that the accused likely did commit the “cowardly” crime.
Harman Singh Virk, 20, was facing charges of aggravated assault, two counts of possessing a weapon for a dangerous purpose, and break and enter to commit and indictable offence in connection to an incident at a party of Grade 12 students from Frank Hurt Secondary in 2013.
It was March 15 of that year when a male student invited between 30 and 45 guests to a get-together at his house to both kick off spring break and celebrate grad early.
Two of the guests were sitting on the front step of the home that night when two others walked by. Suddenly one of seated men was attacked from behind and slashed across the right side of his face with a broken bottle, leaving a gaping wound from his ear to the corner of his mouth.
A few minutes later, he was jabbed once more on the other side of his face.
The victim required 28 stitches to close the first wound and still bears a disfiguring scar on his face.
Virk was found not guilty in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster in March.
In her decision, which was posted online this week, Justice Kathleen Ker told Virk not to mistake her dismissing the charges as finding of factual innocence.
“I think you probably did this and if my suspicion is correct, what a monstrous and cowardly thing to do to someone who did nothing to provoke this attack,” Ker said to the accused.
“However my thinking you probably did this, or having a suspicion you did this, is not sufficient for the purposes of a conviction in a criminal case. I must be satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that it was you, Mr. Virk, who committed this offence. I am not.”
Though several students testified at the February trial, Ker questioned the reliability of much of the evidence, in part due to poor lighting, chaotic circumstances and the fact some of the witnesses had been drinking and/or doing drugs.
Ker also noted some of the witnesses acknowledged that their identification of Virk as the assailant was in part based on what they’d heard from other people at the party.
“… in this case, there is no independent confirmatory evidence linking Mr. Virk to the offences,” said Ker.