NEW WESTMINSTER â€” A man who was to be sentenced Thursday for his role in a "bloody and senseless" party bus brawl in Cloverdale in 2012 has failed to face the music.
Justice Murray Blok ordered a Canada-wide warrant for the arrest of Emmanuel Dario after he didn’t show up for his sentencing hearing in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster.
"There is some information he may be out of the province now," Crown prosecutor Winston Sayson told the judge.
It’s believed Dario might be in Alberta.
If it is indeed proven that he absconded, Sayson said, the Crown will seek to have him sentenced in absentia. Dario’s lawyer Mani Sandhu declined to comment.
A jury 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 under-aged teens are allowed to get drunk on ‘party buses,’" Sayson said at the time. "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 at about 11:30 p.m. that particular 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.
Crown prosecutor Winston 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 October 14 to 28. The jury deliberated for two days before returning its verdict on Tuesday.