June 19th, 2024

Slasher claims victim used racial slurs


By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on April 8, 2022.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A cyclist slashed a motorist in the face with a knife because the driver hurled racial slurs at him, a judge was told this week during a hearing in Lethbridge provincial court. 
Peter Ajang, 46, admitted he attacked the driver last August after he was hit by the driver’s vehicle as he was riding his bicycle through a crosswalk on 13 Street North. He testified, however, the driver then began hurling insults at him, so he walked up to the window and slashed the driver in the face.
Although Ajang pleaded guilty in December to one count of aggravated assault, and admits most of the Crown’s allegations against him, Tuesday’s hearing was required to determine the disputed facts and whether the driver actually yelled racial slurs. The Crown disputes Ajang’s claim, and the victim testified he never called Ajang any names and only apologized for striking him with his vehicle and asked if he was OK.
A dashcam in the vehicle shows the vehicle stopped on 2 A Avenue North before attempting to turn right onto 13 Street. While the driver is watching for traffic from his left, his vehicle slowly inches forward just as Ajang enters the crosswalk on his bike. The video shows the vehicle bumping into Ajang, who doesn’t fall down, then Ajang approaches the driver’s side of the vehicle – walking momentarily out of the dashcam’s view – before reappearing, getting on his bike and riding away.
Two witnesses also testified for the Crown. One of the witnesses was in a nearby vehicle and turning left onto 13 Street from 2 A Avenue, and saw the victim’s vehicle bump into Ajang. He heard someone say, “I’m sorry, are you OK?” Then he heard the upset cyclist yelling and saw him strike the driver in the face.
Another motorist who was stopped on 13 Street said he could tell the victim was concerned about the man he had just hit with his vehicle, but the cyclist, who was visibly irate, struck him in the face then rode off on his bike.
One of the witnesses followed Ajang until police caught up with him, while the other witness assisted the victim, whose injury was so serious blood poured from his face and he later required 17 stitches to close the three-inch gash on his left cheek.
As Ajang was being arrested he pulled out a knife and threw it on the ground. The knife, court was told, still had the victim’s blood on it.
Following the hearing, Judge Erin Olsen reserved her decision on the disputed facts and adjourned the matter until June 7. Defence is expected to ask for the preparation of a pre-sentence report, which takes several weeks, then the Crown and defence will likely argue sentencing.

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