Man who punched janitor in city mall found guilty of assault causing bodily harm

Ryan Ross
Published on March 30, 2016

Man who punched janitor in city mall

A 19-year-old man who punched a janitor at the Charlottetown Mall who he was in a dispute with was found guilty Tuesday of assault causing bodily harm.

That came despite Justin Wendell Gillespie claiming the victim pulled a knife on him inside the mall on one of the busiest shopping days of the year.

Gillespie appeared in provincial court before Chief Judge Nancy Orr in Charlottetown for a trial where she also found him guilty of a probation breach.

Orr said there was no question Gillespie assaulted the victim and caused him harm, but she didn’t find there were grounds to prove he acted in self-defence.

During the trial, the court heard from the victim who said he was working on Dec. 23, 2015, when Gillespie and another man walked up to him, said nothing and punched him in the face.

“It was completely spontaneous,” the victim said.

Although the victim testified he couldn’t remember what happened next, another witness said she saw Gillespie hit him several times after the first blow.

The victim was knocked unconscious, suffered a split lip, which needed four or five stitches, and received a concussion.

During the trial, the court heard about text messages sent between the two men in which they both made threats of violence against each other.

When he testified, Gillespie said he went to the mall to buy his girlfriend a white gold chain for Christmas and wasn’t planning to attack the victim.

He and a friend who was with him ran into the victim who pulled a box cutter on him, Gillespie said.

It was at that point, Gillespie said, that he punched the victim twice.

Gillespie testified he then picked up the knife, held it up and said “look, he tried to hurt me” before throwing the knife at the victim’s feet.

His friend told a similar story, but a witness with no connection to the men said she didn’t see a knife at all, including when she went over to help the victim.

The victim also denied having a knife, and the police didn’t find one.

Orr said when considering all the evidence she didn’t accept the testimony that Gillespie acted in self-defence.

Gillespie will be back in court May 4 for sentencing.