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B.C. mom who encouraged teens to fight, struck boy's throat convicted

B.C. courts
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A mother from B.C.'s Okanagan has been convicted of assault for striking a 17-year-old in the throat – after encouraging her 15-year-old son to fight the boy to settle a petty dispute.

The two teenagers had been feuding over an unpaid debt of $50 in early 2023 when the younger boy's mom egged on a physical confrontation between them, according to a June 17 provincial court decision.

Judge Jeremy Guild noted the accused did so despite knowing her son was in the wrong.

"The lack of parenting skills is not the point," Guild wrote in his reasons. "What is important is her apparent view that violence was a good solution to the problem."

The court heard that when a fist-fight between the teens eventually erupted – outside a bistro where the two families ran into each other in March 2023 – the accused proceeded to hit the 17-year-old's throat, causing him to stumble and choke.

Guild found there was "no evidence" she did so to protect her son or herself.

"It was not reasonable," the judge added. "A strike to the throat is very dangerous."

The feud

The court heard the woman's son purchased a bong from the older teen in late 2022, but only paid part of the asking price – arbitrarily deciding to withhold the last $50.

The conflict between the minors heated up until the 15-year-old bong-purchaser beat up the bong-seller's younger brother, which escalated the tension between the families further, according to the decision.

As this was happening, Guild noted, the accused made no effort to "resolve the situation without violence," such as convincing her son to settle his debt, or calling the other's teen's mother to work things out.

Instead, she told her son to "man up" – which she testified meant he should resolve the dispute with force.

"In her view, a fight was going to happen, the only questions being where and when," Guild wrote.

"(She) knew her son was an aggressor and was defrauding another person, but the only action she took was to encourage her son to engage in more violence."

The bistro incident

As chance would have it, both families visited the same bistro on March 5 of that year.

The bong-seller and his family were there first – and multiple witnesses testified there was tension in the restaurant when the accused and her family showed up.

When the older teenager's family stepped outside, the accused and her son followed.

The court heard the 17-year-old's mother tried to defuse the situation and prevent a physical confrontation – but she testified that the accused told her son, "Back off, I'm going to (expletive) up you and your mom."

Based on the testimony of the Crown's three witnesses, including a server from the bistro, the judge determined one of the boys threw the first punch, but that the accused quickly joined and struck the older teenager in the throat with an open hand.

A photograph presented in court showed red marks on the victim's neck.

While the accused's son testified he had grabbed the older boy's throat as the fight was breaking out, presumably to explain away the photographed injury, the judge believed he was lying to protect his mother.

The issue of consent

Guild wrote that "consensual fights are lawful," and the judge noted the two teenagers involved had agreed to fight each other – including via text messages.

But the 17-year-old had not consented to fighting with his opponent's mother.

"She was an adult and should have tried to stop the fight; instead, she escalated the situation," Guild said.

The judge found the accused's threats to the other mom "were made to prevent her from stopping the fight," and revealed her "true intent" – namely, for the fight to take place and settle the ongoing feud between the teenagers once and for all.

"I convict (her) of the offence as charged," Guild wrote.

Guild also noted that by the time of the trial, the two teenagers had resolved their dispute and “were on friendly enough terms," with the victim of the assault showing "no evidence of ill will" toward the accused.

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