Saturday, April 17, 2010
Man late for court, Judge's verdict postponed
A Canadian Forces reservist narrowly avoided being taken into custody Friday after forcing the verdict in his assault case to be postponed.
Provincial court Judge Michel Chartier issued an arrest warrant when the accused -- Joseph Zielinski -- couldn't be found for the 9 a.m. start time. Zielinski, 49, arrived at the downtown courthouse about 45 minutes later, telling his lawyer he was confused about the time and thought his hearing didn't start until 10 a.m.
The warrant was cancelled but another date will have to be scheduled because Chartier had other court matters on the docket. Zielinski remains free on bail.
Zielinski has pleaded not guilty to assault causing bodily harm after a dispute with his elderly neighbour that began with some yardwork and ended with allegations of racism and violence.
Neurologist Dr. Francis Dominique, 73, and his 76-year-old wife, Vydha, say Zielinski grabbed a leaf blower and began shooting tree debris back towards them. They claim Zielinski ignored their demands to stop and threatened them instead with racial slurs, then jumped over the fence separating their homes and launched into a violent rage in May 2007. Zielinski allegedly began punching Francis Dominique, causing some cuts and bruising.
Zielinski agreed he was cleaning his yard but told court it was the doctor who went on a verbal tirade, then picked up a branch or stick and jabbed it at him through the fence. Several photographs were given to court that show scratches on Zielinski's neck and chest. Zielinski said he never taunted the couple with racist terms, never left his yard and never laid a hand on the doctor. He videotaped a subsequent incident that captured the doctor yelling racial epithets. The footage was shown in court.
Dominique told the Free Press in a previous interview he regrets his reaction to the incident. A handful of neighbours reported having verbal disputes with Zielinski, who moved into the neighbourhood nine years ago with his wife and son. None of the neighbours were called to testify.
I think that this case is something that shouldn't even be taking up court time! There are more important matters which need to be heard. This is simply a case of "their words against his." They each have different stories and allegations against each other. I am not convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that the man charged, is guilty. I believe that he should be acquitted.
I also think that this article is biased in that it does not give enough information about the man's background life, such as previous record, etc.