A trial began in 100 Mile provincial court Tuesday for a man accused of assaulting a Lone Butte property owner with an ATV.
Alan Gear is charged with assault with a weapon, dangerous operation of a conveyance and mischief in connection with the incident, which occurred May 1, 2020.
“This is not a high-profile murder case. It’s a simple assault with the circumstances involving an ATV and some mischief,” defence lawyer George Wool told Judge Michelle Stanford when Crown Counsel was giving her opening submission. “You’ll be able to grasp pretty quickly what happened.”
Crown Counsel Julie Dufour told the court how Roy (Tom) Nichol had allegedly caught Gear trying to cut the wires of a barbed-wire fence on his son’s property on Foothills Road in Lone Butte.
Nichol, 57, testified that he confronted Gear, who became belligerent and spat in his face.
“That’s probably the grossest thing a person can do to another person, let alone when COVID is going on,” Nichol told the court.
He testified he punched Gear and knocked him down the hill. He also kicked him, aiming for his groin, he said.
Nichol said he was heading down the road toward Lone Butte, when Gear allegedly ran into him with his ATV, hitting him in the back and injuring his right hand.
Gear then allegedly returned to the property to smash in his son’s gate with his Dodge pickup truck and threatened that he would tear down any houses built on it.
Const. Christopher Odgaard testified Tuesday that he and another officer had responded to Nichol’s property following the alleged assault, taking samples and photographs of the gate and tire treads where the alleged assault occurred, and a statement from Nichol. Later that night, he headed to the hospital, after hearing Gear was there and saw his truck in the parking lot.
“I noticed the truck was there and there were some scratches on the front of the vehicle,” Odgaard said.
He said his partner arrested Gear, who was being treated inside the hospital. He did not get a statement from Gear, he said, and could not recall any injuries.
Wool questioned why Odgaard would not have interviewed Gear, or followed up after he voluntarily gave a statement to Staff Sgt. Svend Nielsen, suggesting that Nichol had tried to steal his chainsaw from the front of his ATV.
Wool also pointed to a statement by Nichol, in which he said he had kicked Gear “in the nuts.” When Odgaard acknowledged he didn’t look for boot marks in the area where Nichol was allegedly assaulted or follow up on the allegations by Gear, Wool said it was probably “just a rookie mistake.” He later reminded him of his responsibility to be impartial while investigating a case.
“I’m putting it to you that you had your mind made up to charge Mr. Gear before you saw him at the hospital. Is that true?”
“No,” Odgaard said.
The trial will resume April 8.