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West Van gym assault verdicts stand, court rules

This article has been amended since first posting. A West Vancouver man found guilty of head-butting a gym manager and assaulting a West Vancouver police officer has failed to have his convictions and sentence overturned.
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This article has been amended since first posting.

A West Vancouver man found guilty of head-butting a gym manager and assaulting a West Vancouver police officer has failed to have his convictions and sentence overturned.

According to a court decision released Oct. 30, the assaults happened on July 25, 2017 after Luke Jared Evanshen made threatening remarks at the Steve Nash fitness facility in Park Royal.

The ruling notes that he later changed his name to Dominus Rex Maximus Marcus Aurelius Israel Benjamin Jacob Joseph, but Justice Jeanne Watchuk uses his given name throughout the ruling.

After leaving the gym, Evanshen then went to a nearby liquor store and bought a six-pack of Filthy Dirty IPA, which he drank over the course of an hour and a half and then returned to the gym to get his bag, according to the ruling.

The gym manager met him there with three other employees and told him his membership was being revoked, the ruling states.

“At this point, the accused turned and screaming words to the effect that he was ‘God’ or ‘would see him in God’ at [the gym manager], bumped or butted his forehead against [the manager's] head. It was a small tap,” the original ruling states.

The gym manager continued asking Evanshen to leave, which he eventually did but not before he “ran at him and head butted him a second time,” the ruling states.

Evanshen then left the mall. West Vancouver Const. Mike McKerracher spotted him at a nearby bus stop and tried to take him into custody.

“The appellant responded aggressively that his rights were being infringed and that his name was ‘God,’” the original ruling stated.

When McKerracher tried to arrest him, Evanshen resisted and the two wound up in a grappling match on the ground. McKerracher received a gash on his knee. Evanshen’s nose was broken. Back-up officers and a police dog showed up and helped take Evanshen into custody, though 20 minutes after he was in cuffs, he was still trying to “fight vigorously,” the ruling states.

Evanshen represented himself at trial where he testified it was Gambhir who was the aggressor, but the trial judge found Evanshen to not be a credible witness. Video evidence shown in court contradicted Evanshen’s version of events as well, the judge determined. Evanshen was found guilty and sentenced to 30 months of probation.

He later appealed the verdicts, arguing the judge was biased and did not provide him a fair trial. Evanshan alleged the judge misunderstood the evidence and arrived at unreasonable findings of fact and verdicts. He said the judge should have considered his broken nose and he took issue with the Crown for failing to call witnesses who could have offered exculpatory evidence. And he said the judge should have given him more assistance during his trial.

Watchuk rejected all of Evanshen’s arguments and tossed the appeals of his two convictions.

Evanshen also appealed his sentenced but did not make any actual submissions to the court as to why. Watchuk agreed his sentence was at the “low end” of what he could have faced, and upheld it as well.