Both the accused and the victims involved in last month’s brutal beating on Central Avenue in Saskatoon’s Sutherland neighbourhood are pointing fingers at each other when it comes to who provoked the assault that was caught on cell phone video and posted online.
A publication ban is usually in effect for bail hearings but was not requested during Tuesday’s hearing for Darren Hinds, 28 and his brother Darcy, 25. Both men are charged with two counts of aggravated assault, with Darren facing an additional charge of uttering a death threat.
The Crown argued the men should remain behind bars because of the prolonged nature of the assault.
The cellphone video was played in court, showing one brother sucker-punch a man in the side of the head. Both brothers are then seen kicking another man’s head while he is on the ground.
Police received a complaint that two men had been beaten up outside the former Athena Family Restaurant in the 900 block of Central Avenue in the early morning of Nov. 28.
One victim told police that he and his co-worker were having a cigarette outside Dino’s Bar and Grill, a lounge just around the corner from Athena, when they encountered the accused brothers, who the Crown said had come from Athena.
The man said he made a comment about “how big they were” that was taken the wrong way. The second victim alleges saying that they didn’t want any trouble. The men went back and forth until the brothers allegedly left in a vehicle. The accused men attacked them when they returned to the scene, the victims told police.
But one of the victims said they were assaulted a second time, which was not caught on video, after the men left and came back. At that point, the victim told police one of the accused crawled on top of his chest and pressed his thumbs into his eyes, causing extensive damage that would require surgery.
The man also indicated that he had the mark of a boot print on his head.
Witnesses told police they heard yelling coming from around the corner of the Athena off-sale, which is attached to the restaurant and lounge. Another witness said he did not see the victims provoke a fight, court heard.
Police did not take statements from the victims at the time of the incident, citing that the men appeared intoxicated, the Crown said. Officers informed the men that they could make a formal complaint the next day if they wanted.
Police only pursued charges against the Hinds brothers — and tracked down the victims — once the video of the assault went viral, defence lawyer Brian Pfefferle told the court. He called it the result of a “public witch hunt” on social media.
There were events leading up to the assault that were not caught on video, he pointed out. Pfefferle said his clients indicated that the victims were picking a fight by “calling them on” and making derogatory statements that included comments about Darren and Darcy’s weight.
Pfefferle said there is also nothing to corroborate the one victim’s allegations of a second assault.
On the issue of bail, he argued the men can be trusted to attend court. When the brother’s turned themselves in Monday morning, Pfefferle pointed out that police actually asked them to come back 45 minutes later because of a shift change.
The Hinds brothers were each released on a $1,000 recognizance and must abide by conditions that include a curfew and not consuming alcohol or going to bars. They also have to live in an approved residence in Spruce Grove, Alta. where they are from.
The men had been visiting Saskatoon the night of the assault. Court heard the manager of Athena, now Tomas the Cook, witnessed the tail-end of the incident and identified Darren and Darcy to police.
He said he used to work with the brothers when they managed the restaurant in the past.