Surrey man gets 18 months for role in Cloverdale party bus brawl

NEW WESTMINSTER — A Surrey man who failed to show up in court to answer for his role in a "bloody and senseless" party bus brawl in Cloverdale in 2012 was sentenced to 18 months in jail in absentia.

A sentencing hearing was heard in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster after Justice Murray Blok ruled that Emmanuel Dario had absconded. Dario was to be sentenced on March 5th but didn’t show up.

The Surrey RCMP subsequently published a bulletin for information on his whereabouts but authorities still don’t know where he is. If and when he is found, he will go straight to jail to start serving his sentence, which includes two years probation, a DNA order, 10-year firearm prohibition and fines.

Crown Prosecutor Winston Sayson had argued for a prison sentence of 18 months to two years less a day, plus lengthy probation, and defence lawyer Mani Sadhu argued for a suspended sentence on grounds his client was subjected to extensive provocation.

A jury found Dario guilty last year 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.

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.

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 got out of his vehicle.

Roughly a dozen police 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 court 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 revealing its verdict.

tzytaruk@thenownewspaper.com

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