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Fist fight in family restaurant results in suspended sentence, $1,200 fine

A man who was found guilty of attacking one man and stomping another man’s phone at a St. Albert restaurant was sentenced this month.
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ST. ALBERT, Alta. — A man who was found guilty of attacking one man and stomping another man’s phone at a St. Albert restaurant was sentenced this month.

St. Albert Provincial Court by Judge V. Myers handed Bradley Werhun a 12-month suspended sentence on June 6 after he was found guilty of one count each of assault, assault with a weapon, and mischief damage under $5,000, all of which stemmed from charges after a Feb. 1 incident at the St. Albert Earls restaurant.

Werhun represented himself during the trial, and told the court the victims had incited violence to cause a hate crime against him.

The Crown called five witnesses, including an Earls employee and two attending RCMP officers.

The first witness, Paul Sturt, a construction company owner, was having dinner with Travis Blanchard at the time of the incident, court heard.

Sturt said Werhun was sitting across from Blanchard, and they were bantering back and forth, adding Werhun had made comments about his hair, and about “getting him kicked out in 15 seconds.”

Sturt told the court a glass was broken and Werhun made a thrusting motion with the broken glass. A fight then broke out between Werhun and Blanchard, court heard.

Werhun, who questioned Sturt in court, asked what Strut meant when he called him flamboyant in conversation in February.

“All over the place,” Sturt said. “Not acting normal.”

Werhun asked Sturt if he remembered calling him a homophobic slur. Sturt said no.

Blanchard was the second witness called by the Crown.

Blanchard said he had gone to Earls after getting back from a vacation in California. Sturt had called him to come to the bar, court heard. Blanchard said he arrived around 6 p.m. and they ordered drinks and food.

Blanchard said Werhun was talking to the bartender about ice fishing and Sturt had made the comment to Werhun: “Ice fishing is for fags.”

Sturt and Werhun took verbal shots at each other, Blanchard told the court, adding he told Sturt to ignore Werhun.

Sturt told Werhun, “You have 10 to 15 seconds to shut your mouth,” Blanchard told the court. “Then [Werhun] got up … I could hear him walking and counting down.”

Blanchard said Werhun threw a full margarita on Sturt — which he thought was funny. But the glass had broken and it looked like Werhun was going to go after Sturt again, court heard.

“I then pushed him, shoved him off to the side. The waitress came over trying to calm [him] down and that’s when he punched me,” said Blanchard.

Blanchard said they tussled through the restaurant area, however, the fighting eventually stopped. Blanchard said he was bleeding from his tooth going through his lip and went to the bathroom to clean up.

When he came back, the waitress handed him his phone, which was destroyed.

“[Werhun] hit me first. I am 47 years old. I have no intentions to get in a fight in a family restaurant,” said Blanchard.

Werhun questioned Blanchard about what he called homophobic comments, and how long him and Sturt had been drinking.

Blanchard said they had been there for two hours, and he did not recall.

The Crown called an Earls employee who was shift leader that night.

She told the court Earls was familiar with all three men and had guest profiles on all of them.

The employee didn’t know much about the fight, only that she asked the bartender to call 911 and asked Werhun to leave after he was being aggressive. She recalled seeing Werhun stomping on something outside of the restaurant and asked him to leave a second time, court heard.

She saw the phone and brought it inside.

Werhun asked the employee if she heard what Sturt had said to him. The employee said, “no.”

Two attending officers were called as witnesses in the case. The first officer was questioned about video footage of the altercation from the restaurant's security system, which was shown in court, and said the video appeared to show that Werhun hit Blanchard first.

The second officer showed photos of the damaged phone.

Werhun spoke about mental-health issues at the trial.

Myers initially sentenced Werhun to a conditional discharge.

“I don’t like to hamper individuals without a criminal record, especially [when they have] mental-health issues,” Myers said.

The Crown said Werhun had three conditional discharges beforehand.

“I’m not inclined to look at it now,” said Myers.

Myers said he believed that Werhun, over the course of the evening, had ugly comments directed towards him, but that was no reason for the assault.

Werhun received a 12-month suspended sentence; a no-contact order with the victims and the Earls employee; a $1,200 fine in restitution for the damaged phone; and a condition that Werhun take medications as prescribed.