Toronto Star

Man not guilty in Beaches stabbing

Judge finds knife was used in self defence after fight over puppy got violent in 2019


It started with a dispute over a puppy and ended with a man on trial for attempted murder.

Dylan Cann, then 27, was holding an eight-month-old black lab he was fostering as he and friends walked along Queen Street East at the Beaches Jazz Festival at around 11 p.m. on July 25, 2019.

Michael Jobe, then 19, was standing outside a convenienc­e store at the corner of Hammersmit­h and Queen with friends.

“Both being dog-lovers, they talked briefly about the puppy. Then, something happened,” wrote Superior Court Justice Shaun Nakatsuru in his verdict released Wednesday.

There was a heated argument when Jobe told Cann the puppy was too young to be at the loud street music festival.

Nakatsuru found that Cann, who became increasing­ly angry, told Jobe: “How about I give my dog and my beer to my buddy and we go at it?” and then handed the puppy over to a friend and punched Jobe in the temple.

Before Cann could land a second punch, Jobe stabbed Cann with a folding box cutter knife he had with him for cutting up cardboard boxes as part of his work at a nearby Starbucks, leaving Cann with two nonlife-threatenin­g stab wounds on his chest and stomach area, Nakatsuru found.

In a 24-page ruling, Nakatsuru acquitted Jobe of attempted murder and aggravated assault, finding he acted in self-defence.

He found that Cann’s claim that Jobe stabbed him unprovoked after Cann told him to mind his own business was not credible or reliable.

At trial, Cann’s friend contradict­ed his version of events, testifying that Cann did yell for him to take the dog and that Cann threw a “haymaker” punch at someone.

“Mr. Jobe was a young man who was aggressive­ly attacked, suddenly and unexpected­ly by an older, heavier man. Beyond being opinionate­d, persistent and perhaps impolite about his concern for a puppy’s welfare, he played little role in instigatin­g the incident,” Nakatsuru wrote.

“When struck in the head forcefully, he had little time to think — mere seconds — as the attack was continuing. When he found himself crouched over and in a vulnerable position, he resorted to a folding knife he used for work. He swung once, or twice at the most. The wounds he caused were not minor but they were not grave. He immediatel­y desisted and ran away.”

Nakatsuru said it was hard to see immediatel­y using a knife to stab someone as a proportion­ate response — one of the factors to consider in assessing a self-defence claim — but found in this case that while Jobe was reckless and injured Cann in a particular­ly vulnerable part of his body, he did not mean to kill him or seriously harm the other man.

In a case involving self-defence, the Crown has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the answer to at least one of the following questions is no, Nakatsuru wrote:

1. Did the accused believe on reasonable grounds that force was being used or threatened against him?

2. Did the accused act for the purpose of defending himself?

3. Were the accused’s actions reasonable in the circumstan­ces?

In this case, the Crown conceded Jobe reasonably believed force was being used against him, but argued Jobe was a willing participan­t in the fight and used the knife to win. Nakatsuru, however, believed Jobe was fearful, and as he told police, just wanted Cann to “back off and not attack me any further.” He also believed Jobe’s testimony that even though they were arguing, the punch was unexpected, because Cann was holding a puppy and didn’t “seem like that type of person.”

In answer to the last question, Nakatsuru concluded it was reasonable for Jobe to see Cann as a significan­t threat.

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