Victim sees accused amid festival throng
Judge sides with woman who says she was beat up at Center of Gravity event
A young woman has been found guilty of assaulting another woman during the 2016 Center of Gravity music festival weekend.
Sarah Marie McMillen, 25, was charged with assault causing bodily harm against Ariel Jarvis. McMillen had pleaded not guilty.
On July 8, 2016, Jarvis and a friend drove to Kelowna from Abbotsford to attend Center of Gravity, the court heard Tuesday.
That night, the two of them and another friend went to two nightclubs in downtown Kelowna for Jarvis’s 25th birthday.
At some point during the evening, Jarvis met a man by the name of Moses, who joined their group.
As the designated driver, Jarvis did not drink alcohol that night, said Judge Marguerite Shaw.
About 2 a.m., Jarvis and three other people walked back to her car behind Kelly O’Bryan’s restaurant, where they came upon a man and a woman arguing.
“On first seeing the couple, Jarvis says the woman was pushing at the man’s chest and she looked like she was crying,” said Shaw.
Jarvis heard the man tell the woman to calm down, then Moses mimicked his words in a sarcastic voice. The woman made a comment, and Moses again mocked her, said Shaw.
“The woman came towards Moses and he ran around Jarvis’s car, with the woman coming after him,” she said.
The man stepped in front of Moses, backing him up across the street. Jarvis tried to go toward Moses, but the woman moved in front of her, blocking her.
Jarvis said she asked the woman to tell her friend to let Moses go, but the woman refused.
Around this time, a man eating fries was walking down the street toward the group.
“Jarvis reports the woman moved around her on the left side, and went and pushed the man, who went backwards scattering the fries,” said Shaw.
Jarvis moved toward Moses, who was backed up against the tailgate of a white truck by the man.
The woman then came up behind Jarvis on the left side and punched her. The next memory Jarvis has was sitting in the hospital.
Jarvis’s injuries included three bruised ribs on her left side, a broken collarbone, three contusions on the left side of her head and several bruises and scratches on her shoulder, hip and knee.
Jarvis said it took about four months to recover.
Later that day, Jarvis and her friends went back to the Center of Gravity festival, and Jarvis spotted the accused going into the beer garden. Jarvis told one of her friends to take a photo of the accused, which he did.
She then sent the photo to her mom and some friends, telling them the woman in the photo was the person who beat her up.
Later that night, Jarvis received a text message from a friend, saying she found the woman in the photo at a Kelowna nightclub.
Another person took a photo of the accused, and Jarvis’s friend picked up a driver’s licence the woman had dropped and saw the name on it was Sarah Marie McMillen.
The next day, Jarvis went to the police station to discuss the incident.
She then went back to Center of Gravity, where she spotted the accused in the lineup to get into the festival.
Jarvis contacted the police and eventually officers arrived and arrested the accused.
The main issue in this case is the identification of the woman who assaulted Jarvis, said Shaw.
“Jarvis’s identification of the accused is not equivocal,” said Shaw, adding Jarvis was able to pick out McMillen from hundreds of people at Center of Gravity, and she also positively identified
McMillen in the courtroom, where McMillen was not the only young female present.
Jarvis was also sober at the time of the event, and said she was able to see McMillen clearly in the light of a street lamp.
Shaw confirmed the woman in the photos was McMillen.
“In considering all of the evidence, I find the complainant Ariel Jarvis has positively identified the accused Sarah McMillen as the woman who assaulted her on July 9, 2016,” said Shaw.
“As a result, I find Sarah McMillen guilty of count one, assault of Ariel Jarvis.”
A presentence report has been requested for McMillen.
Her next court appearance is set for Feb. 6.