A Cloverdale father’s claim that he was assaulted by another dad at a Pee Wee baseball game has been dismissed by a B.C. Supreme Court justice.
The incident happened during a boy’s game in Cloverdale’s Greenaway Park in May 2011.
David Wheeler’s youngest son was scheduled to umpire a game in which one of Benoit Charland’s sons was playing, but upon arriving late, Charland told the boy to go home. When he went home upset, Wheeler went to the field to talk to Charland.
During the conversation, a fight began, during which Charland claimed Wheeler assaulted him. Wheeler, however, said Charland attacked him first and that he acted in self-defence. An attending police officer deemed the fight consensual.
Charland, 48, ended up suing Wheeler and the Cloverdale Minor Baseball Association, but the claim against the association was dropped before the trial.
At the trial last fall, Charland didn’t deny he had sent Wheeler’s son home, but testified didn’t want to speak with Wheeler because he was sitting eating a meal. He said he politely asked Wheeler to wait, but that Wheeler called him an obscene name. He said Wheeler became more heated and when Charland finally did start to get up, Wheeler punched him in the eye. The pair then grappled on the grass before being separated.
Charland claimed he also suffered a contused kidney as a result of Wheeler kicking him – something he never told police – and that he was unable to work as a painting contractor for about a month because of his injuries.
He said prior to the fight, he told Wheeler “I’ll do you later,” which he said meant “I will meet you later.”
Wheeler testified he did not go to the ballpark to fight, but to resolve the situation in hopes Charland would talk to his upset son. He said Charland told him to f–k off when he asked to talk. He was surprised and admitted calling him a derogatory name in return. As he walked away, he heard Charland say “I’ll do you later,” and when he turned around, Charland came at him with his arms out and he reacted out of fear and threw a punch.
In a March 20 B.C. Supreme Court decision, Madam Justice Jeanne Watchuk determined neither man was the victim and that the scrap between the two dads was consensual.
She didn’t buy Charland’s explanation that “I’ll do you later” meant “I will meet you later,” instead finding that by making the statement, Charland “formed the intention to fight.” By turning back toward an angry Charland, Wheeler also willingly engaged in the brawl. She denied he kicked Charland, however.
Watchuk awarded no damages to either party, but said Wheeler was entitled to court costs.