A man accused of brutally assaulting a White Rock businessman with a hammer and a pipe wrench testified Friday that he was the one who was attacked during the incident at a South Surrey property four years ago.
Taking the stand at B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster, Darryl Gordon Brown also told Justice R. Crawford that he remembers next to nothing of what transpired after Fred Edrissi hit him in the arm with a grinder and on the head with a pipe wrench – other than seeing “stars,” and wrestling with Edrissi on the ground.
“I don’t remember anything after that. I came to at a Washworld in Surrey, covered in blood and vomit,” Brown said.
Brown, 47, has pleaded not guilty to aggravated assault, assault with a weapon and robbery in connection with the Aug. 1, 2009 incident, which occurred on property in the 16500-block of 32 Avenue. He was ordered in December 2010 to stand trial on the charges, following a preliminary hearing in Surrey Provincial Court.
The trial got underway in September 2012. At that time, Edrissi testified that a “broken hand, broken knee, broken skull, broken ribs” were among injuries he suffered in the attack, which, he said, occurred while waiting for mechanical work to be done on his minivan. Edrissi told the court that Brown hit him several times in the head with a hammer or pipe wrench and had tried to strangle him with a grinder cord.
The court also heard last year from Sheri-Lyn Brown, who was married to the accused at the time of the incident. She testified she witnessed much of what transpired between Edrissi and her husband, and that she believed at the time that her husband had killed Edrissi.
On Friday, prosecutor Jas Gahunia suggested to Darryl Brown that he, out of anger, struck Edrissi from behind with a hammer and a pipe wrench – a scenario he denied.
“There’s no way that I went up and hit him,” he said.
Brown, a mechanic, said the incident occurred on the last of five visits Edrissi made to the property that day regarding work he wanted done on his van. On the earlier visits, discussion had covered the cost of the work, parts that needed to be picked up and a request from Brown for Edrissi to return later, as he was spending some rare alone time with his wife, he said.
Brown said that immediately prior to Edrissi hitting him, Edrissi was “ranting” about having already paid for the work. Brown said Edrissi didn’t understand that he had paid for the parts needed but not the labour.
“He wouldn’t listen that he had not paid me,” he said. “He said ‘bullsh-t’ about 20 times.”
Brown said Edrissi swung the tools at him when he reached around Edrissi to grab the keys to the minivan, which were needed in order for him to do the requested work. Brown said he told Edrissi at that time that he’d return the keys once he’d been paid the $50 he was owed for the labour, but that he never intended to actually withhold the keys.
“It was just something to say,” he said.
Brown said Edrissi swung first with the grinder, then with the pipe wrench, hitting him in the left forearm and on the right side of his head, near the hairline.
“I could see stars floating around, then tunnel vision, then that’s it.”
Brown said he never attended a hospital for his injuries, didn’t report the incident to police and never returned to the property where it occurred.
Gahunia and defence counsel Jeremy Fung are to make closing arguments on Friday.