A Vancouver Provincial Court judge had harsh words for a man who did not appear to appreciate the gravity of his stabbing another man in a February 2022 downtown fight.
Crown prosecutor Louise Gauld told Judge Patrick Doherty that Nftaliem Fisaheye Tekeste and several others had begun fighting at the intersection of Smythe and Granville streets in the downtown entertainment district.
He was charged with aggravated assault but pleaded guilty to assault causing bodily harm. It is his only criminal conviction.
Tekeste and another man were fighting when Tekeste, 21, pulled a knife, stabbing the victim in the abdomen, elbow and buttocks.
“The police saw what looked like in (the victim’s) hand an internal organ,” Gauld said. “The blood was flowing freely.”
She said the victim was taken to hospital and underwent emergency surgery.
Gauld said the victim was the initial aggressor, pushing and then punching Tekeste.
The incident was caught on video. Alcohol and drugs were involved, the court heard.
Gauld said another person had released some bear spray, some of which impacted Tekeste.
“It affected his ability to see what he was reacting to,” Gauld said. “He was frightened. He reacted quickly.”
Defence lawyer Jayde Niefer told Doherty that Tekeste carried the knife as he had been assaulted earlier. It was an attack that left him in a coma.
Tekeste told Doherty the other man wouldn’t stop attacking him, and that he couldn’t put his parents through another round of him being hospitalized.
“You nearly took another young man away from his parents,” Doherty said. “So it’s OK to stab him and potentially kill him? I’m a little worried that you don’t accept full responsibility for this.”
With a joint submission from both lawyers on sentencing, Doherty sentenced Tekeste to an 18-month conditional sentence order with house arrest and a curfew followed by a year’s probation.
"He is sincerely remorseful for the harm he has caused," Niefer said.
Doherty heard Tekeste’s initial application for Canadian citizenship was denied as a result of the charge. That may now be appealed as a result of the plea and sentence.