At the time, we noted that some boneheads were already playing the victim card and suggesting it was Mr. Phillips who was the antagonist. Well, it looks like this claim is being used by the defence now, despite video evidence that contradicts that very claim:
During videotaped RCMP statements played in court Thursday, two men admitted racial slurs might have started an incident between them and another friend and a black man across the street in Courtenay last summer.
"He called us pussies — he wanted to take us all ... we called him some racial slurs," said David White, 19, to RCMP Const. Busch, during a voluntary statement recorded shortly after the July 3, 2009 fight with Jay Phillips, 39.
Each video of the accused, including that of Robert Rogers and Adam Huber, both, 25, was played in its entirety.
During questioning in the video, Huber admitted the group — including driver Justin Smith who did not participate in the melee — "probably really should have kept driving."
"What kind of racial slurs (were yelled?)," asked Const. Busch.
"Nigger," answered Huber, adding he was not the one who yelled the word. "I don't like the word myself. We're just a couple of roofers ... (the incident) was blown way out of proportion."
Earlier in the trial, Phillips testified all three men taunted him with the slur.
Neither Crown nor defence lawyers began closing arguments during the scheduled third and final day of the trial Thursday. Judge Peter Doherty agreed another date will be set June 3 for closing arguments.
If any of the men are found guilty, Crown prosecutors can seek the accused to be sentenced under hate crime legislation, which would be determined by the judge at sentencing.
When they made their first court appearance in July soon after their arrest, the three men accused of assaulting Mr. Phillips claimed that they felt threatened.
Considering there were three of them (four including the driver who doesn't appear to have participated in the assault), were driving in a half ton truck and Mr. Phillips was alone, we have to call into question this assertion. But then again, we're a bit cynical. Especially when you watch the video of them leaving the court after that first appearance.