Pub­lic pee­ing led to vi­cious at­tack, judge de­cides

The Province - - NEWS - LOUISE DICK­SON

VIC­TO­RIA — Step­ping into a back-al­ley pud­dle of urine so en­raged Latto Simian Se­say that he de­cided to pun­ish an un­sus­pect­ing Vic­to­ria man who had just re­lieved him­self be­hind a dump­ster.

It was just af­ter bar clos­ing on the early morn­ing of March 31, 2018, when Se­say walked into the al­ley to look for his friends. In­stead, he spot­ted Brian Row­ley, a 28-year-old Univer­sity of Vic­to­ria stu­dent, walk­ing out of an al­cove be­hind the Strath­cona Hotel af­ter he had uri­nated be­hind a dump­ster.

The 34-year-old Se­say stopped Row­ley, then punched him in the face. Row­ley, un­aware the blow was com­ing, fell back­ward and hit his head, re­ceiv­ing a trau­matic brain in­jury.

The in­for­ma­tion was re­counted this week by B.C. Supreme Court Jus­tice Paul Walker, who con­victed Se­say of the ag­gra­vated as­sault of Row­ley.

“I find from all the ev­i­dence, Mr. Se­say in­tended to con­front and chal­lenge Mr. Row­ley while he was an­gry and frus­trated and to mete out some form of pun­ish­ment for the act of an­other who had uri­nated close to the en­trance of the al­ley,” Walker said.

A sen­tenc­ing date has not been set for Se­say, who has al­ready pleaded guilty to re­sist­ing a po­lice of­fi­cer that night. The judge has or­dered a pre-sen­tence re­port with a psy­cho­log­i­cal com­po­nent and an as­sess­ment of Se­say’s risk to the com­mu­nity.

Row­ley will de­liver a vic­tim-im­pact state­ment to the court at sen­tenc­ing. Be­fore the random at­tack he worked full-time re­search­ing tech­nolo­gies to im­prove the lives of chil­dren and adults with autism. He was work­ing on a master’s de­gree in com­mu­nity devel­op­ment.

He has no mem­ory of what hap­pened that night. The last thing Row­ley says he re­mem­bers is be­ing at The Bea­gle Pub on Cook Street that evening.

“He’s do­ing bet­ter,” said pros­e­cu­tor Jess Pat­ter­son. “He’s started back at school, but he has not worked since the as­sault.”

The judge found Se­say’s ex­pla­na­tion that he was act­ing in self-de­fence lacked cred­i­bil­ity.

Through video-sur­veil­lance cam­eras in the al­ley and around the hotel and ev­i­dence given by two Strath­cona em­ploy­ees who were hav­ing a smoke break in the al­ley at the time, the Crown has proved its case beyond a rea­son­able doubt, Walker said.

The em­ploy­ees tes­ti­fied that the Strath­cona Hotel in­stalled an open-air pub­lic uri­nal in the al­ley as a con­ve­nience to those need­ing to re­lieve them­selves af­ter the bars close. But it’s com­mon for men to uri­nate be­hind the dump­ster where their bod­ies are shielded from view.

Se­say, who tes­ti­fied that he had 10 to 12 drinks, said he walked into the al­ley be­cause he thought his friends might be drink­ing or do­ing drugs there. He ad­mit­ted he was upset and frus­trated when he stepped into the urine pud­dle.

Se­say ap­peared to stag­ger as he walked, Walker said. It ap­peared he was go­ing to use the uri­nal, but then spot­ted Row­ley.

“There was noth­ing provoca­tive or threat­en­ing about the move­ment of Mr. Row­ley’s arms and hands,” Walker said. “They were by his side when he was struck by Mr. Se­say.”

Af­ter punch­ing Row­ley, Se­say turned and walked away down the al­ley. Just be­fore turn­ing onto Court­ney Street, Se­say turned and wagged two of his fingers in the di­rec­tion where Row­ley was ly­ing un­con­scious on the ground.

— MICHAL KLAJBAN/WIKIPEDIA

Brian Row­ley, 28, fell and suf­fered a trau­matic brain in­jury when he was punched in the face in an al­ley be­hind the Strath­cona Hotel.

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