A bystander to an argument at a perogy stand during bar flush two years ago was stabbed in the abdomen as he stepped into the ensuing brawl, the court heard as the aggravated assault trial against the alleged stabber got underway Monday.
However, the defence is seeking to cast doubt that Chaouki Monssef, 38, is the man responsible for the stabbing that hospitalized Dylan Hatten for several days and left him with a scar after 70 staples were used to close the wound.
It was in the early morning hours of April 15, 2011, that Hatten, then 19, parked outside Cheetah’s to pick up some friends, he testified.
He was the designated driver and said he hadn’t drank alcohol that night, although on cross examination said he may have drank at home earlier in the evening and taken Percocet.
After friend Joshua Woodward got in his vehicle, Hatten decided he wanted perogies and got in line at a food cart parked outside the night spot.
There, Hatten testified, two men began to argue with a woman he knows, calling her a “bitch.”
The argument spilled into a nearby alley, where a fight broke out and others joined the melee.
“It looked like it was getting rough,” said Hatten, who decided to go over “and make sure everything was good.”
At the time of that decision, Hatten spotted Woodward, now involved in the fight, “run” a man’s “face into the wall.”
Just prior to that, Woodward testified the man had punched another friend in the head three times.
Hatten said that Woodward turned around, presumably to fight someone else, when he spotted the man, who was wearing a black jacket, chain and man purse, get up.
“I didn’t want him to go after my friend while his back was turned,” said Hatten.
Hatten grabbed the man by the neck with his left hand and began to wind up to punch him when he was stabbed, he testified.
“Did you see a knife at any point?” asked Crown counsel Murray Kaay.
“No,” said Hatten.
When asked why he believed it was a knife, Hatten said: “I’ve been stabbed before.”
Under cross examination, he testified the man he was holding stabbed him, but said he couldn’t actually see what was happening on his left side, where he was wounded.
Woodward, who was drunk that night, has a different recollection of what happened, saying the man he ran into the wall began to take something out of his jacket as he got up.
Woodward assumed it was a knife or gun, and yelled that the man had a weapon. The man ran toward the back of the alley, Woodward testified.
Later in his testimony, he said he did not see if the man, who was wearing a black jacket and a chain, actually left the alley.
Woodward went back to fighting and “five to eight seconds” later, Hatten was stabbed and fell on Woodward.
“Did you see Dylan get stabbed?” asked Kaay.
“No, I didn’t. He fell on me when I was fighting like three guys,” said Woodward.
After the fight, a friend was showing around images he found on a phone and Woodward said at the time he was “pretty sure” one image was the man he fought.
However, on Monday he couldn’t say “100 per cent” if that man was in the courtroom.
The trial before Justice Geoffrey Barrow is scheduled for four days.