LAWYERS for two men accused of brutally beating a man at the side of a North Vancouver highway in an apparent case of road rage argued in court Wednesday that they were only acting in self-defence.
Gerardo Arguello, 38, of Vancouver, and Norman Segundo, a 35-year-old Californian, are accused of beating 30-year-old Ryan McCaffery on the side of North Vancouver’s Cut on New Year’s Day 2011.
They face charges of assault causing bodily harm. Arguello is also charged with assault with a weapon.
But defence lawyer Andi MacKay told Judge Doug Moss that rather than being an unwitting victim in the case, McCaffery had engaged in a “campaign of intimidation” towards Arguello as the two men crossed the Ironworkers Memorial bridge
MacKay said it was McCaffery — not Segundo or Arguello — who approached and started the physical fight after the two minivans collided.
Arguello only swung the baseball bat in self-defence, to stop McCaffery from hitting him, she said.
MacKay and fellow defence lawyer David Hopkins made their arguments Wednesday in North Vancouver
Earlier in the trial, McCaffery testified that he had been rushed by Segundo and hit with a baseball bat wielded by Arguello after Arguello deliberately caused a crash on Hwy. 1.
Testifying for the Crown, McCaffery described how the incident started after he cut off Arguello’s minivan in the process of merging onto the Ironworkers Memorial Second Narrows crossing, heading into North Vancouver that afternoon.
Arguello, who was behind the wheel, and Segundo, who was a passenger, became enraged at being cut off and pulled their vehicle alongside his to yell, according to McCaffery.
McCaffery said as he was heading up the cut, he saw the accused’s vehicle race up the highway and cut across three lanes of traffic only to slam on their brakes in front of him, causing a fender bender.
McCaffery said as soon as he got out to inspect the damage, Segundo came at him with “rage in his eyes,”
punching and kicking.
McCaffery said Arguello fetched a baseball bat from his minivan and “The next thing I know, I was smashed in the head with a baseball bat.”
On Wednesday, defence lawyers disputed that
version of events.
MacKay questioned McCaffery’s testimony, saying it doesn’t make sense that Segundo — small man of about 130 pounds — would challenge the much heavier and larger McCaffery to a fight.
MacKay said instead that McCaffery started the confrontation by “throwing his jacket down” in an aggressive act, and coming towards Segundo.
MacKay said Arguello only went to fetch his child’s baseball bat because “he was frightened” and wanted McCaffery to stop fighting. Arguello gave McCaffery two warnings to stop before he actually swung the bat, she said.
Arguello was simply defending both himself and Segundo, she said.
Hopkins, Segundo’s lawyer, added it’s not clear from McCaffery’s evidence if Segundo actually struck McCaffery in any way.
But Crown prosecutor Kristin Bryson told the judge the self-defence argument “does not have an air of reality to it.”
She noted that two other witnesses described watching one of the men hit McCaffery with what she thought was a hockey stick “10 or 20 times at least.” She added witnesses described Arguello as “agitated” and “screaming” at McCaffery.
After the fight ended, McCaffery was taken to hospital where he received seven staples in his head to close the wound opened by the bat. He told the court he continues to have daily headaches and has been diagnosed with chronic pain.
Moss has reserved his verdict in the case until later in September.
McCaffery has also named Arguello and Segundo in a civil lawsuit alleging damages from attack.