An assault trial in Penticton was an unusual one in that there was no accused in the room, or even on video, when he was found guilty.
The trial of Martin Larose took place on Nov. 16, but he wasn’t present to hear his victim or watch the videos of his March 2022 axe attack near Okanagan Falls. Larose had been charged with assault with a weapon and assault causing bodily harm.
After some discussion, the presiding judge deemed it appropriate to proceed ex parte, or without the accused present.
Larose had been present previously when the trial date was confirmed on Oct. 25.
The judge entered a not-guilty plea on his behalf, noting that was on the record as Larose’s intention, before going ahead with the trial since there were seven witnesses on standby for it.
In a further twist, just before proceedings began with Crown laying out their case, Larose’ defence also asked and received permission to be removed as counsel for a possible conflict of interest they had discovered.
In the end, only the victim was required to testify about the March 18, 2022 incident.
On that day, the victim was in his backyard when Larose showed up. Larose was the ex of the victim’s girlfriend.
“My dog starts barking, and he gunned the car towards the dog,” said the witness. “I should say the last year we’re not getting along very well, things have gone sour.”
After getting out of the car, Larose immediately is shouting and moving aggressively, including swinging punches towards the victim. The victim shoved Larose back, knocking him down and knocking off his glasses.
“I go down to pick up his glasses. Like I’ve known this guy for years, this is the first time I hit him,” said the victim.
Larose, after getting to his feet, went back to his vehicle and pulled an axe out of the back. He then took that axe and went after his victim, striking him multiple times even after he fell onto the ground.
After his victim finally gets up, he grabbed a piece of aluminum bar and turned back to Larose, giving him a warning to back off. Larose retreated to his car, and his victim headed into his house, locking all the doors and calling the police.
The victim’s hand had been split open, and he also suffered wounds to his leg, all of which bled significantly and scarred.
The entire situation was recorded on the victim’s home surveillance system.
The judge ruled that based on the victim’s testimony and the illustrative videos that were shared with the court that Larose was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and that there was “no air of reality of any sort of self-defence” claim for Larose.
A warrant for Larose was then issued, and he will be sentenced at a later date once he is taken into custody.