A man charged in connection with another man’s death at a Surrey house party in 2012 has been found not guilty in a separate stabbing outside a different party the same year.
Michael Alexander Ross was on trial for aggravated assault after Roger Snow was stabbed three times in the chest and abdomen in June 2012.
A woman named Morgan Nicholson was already been convicted of aggravated assault in the stabbing, but the Crown contended Ross also participated in the assault. It was alleged he grabbed Snow’s shirt during Nicholson’s attack, twice punching him in the head at about the same time as the stabbing.
The incident took place outside a home near the intersection of 101 Avenue and 132 Street, where Ross, Nicholson and Snow were attending an after-hours party.
At trial, Snow testified he went into a bedroom at the party to smoke marijuana. He said Nicholson came in and had some kind of verbal altercation with another man and that he tried to intervene. Nicholson punched Snow in the head, he said, and he responded by pushing her against a wall.
He said he then left the house and was heading down the driveway when he turned to see Nicholson coming after him with what looked like a knife. He testified he dodged her, running in different directions, until he was grabbed from behind and punched from behind by Ross. It was then, he said, that he was stabbed.
As he ran away, eventually catching a cab to hospital, he said he heard Ross say “you know what this is for.”
In a Sept. 6 B.C. Supreme Court decision posted online this week, Justice Frits Verhoeven said he accepted there was a second person, besides Nicholson, involved in the attack on Snow but was not convinced it was Ross.
“The only evidence of that is that of Mr. Snow; thus, the Crown’s case rests entirely on that evidence,” wrote Verhoeven in his decision. “Unfortunately, although it is quite clear that there were several bystanders, none appear to have provided the police with any useful information as to who, other than Ms. Nicholson, was involved.”
Verhoeven pointed to the fact Snow testified he knew Ross quite well, having grown up in the same area of Surrey, yet in police statements, referred to him only as “some guy, “one of her friends” and that his name might be Mike.
It was only later, the judge said, after Snow’s friend told him Ross was angry because he dated his ex-girlfriend, that Snow seemed to become more certain about who attacked him and why.
“The evidence given to the Crown Counsel is inconsistent both with his hospital statement and his evidence at trial, which raises concerns about Mr. Snow’s credibility in general,” said Verhoeven in acquitting Ross.
Ross was charged last year in a separate case involving the fatal shooting of 21-year-old Noel Jackson on May 3, 2012. While Ross and co-accused Jonathan Michael Kishimoto both originally faced first-degree murder charges, Ross is now standing trial only on an accessory after the fact charge. His next court date is Jan. 16.