The prosecution has laid out its case against a couple accused of manslaughter in the death of 22-year-old man at a North Burnaby Starbucks in 2017.
Michael Page-Vincelli never regained consciousness after a single punch to the head on the afternoon of July 21, 2017 knocked him over, causing him to hit his head on the floor and possibly a counter, Crown prosecutor Colleen Smith told a jury in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver Monday.
He died in hospital the next day with a fractured skull and “significant brain damage,” according to Smith.
Smith said she will argue the man who delivered the fateful blow was Lawrence Alvin Sharpe, encouraged by his girlfriend Oldouz Pournouruz.
Pournouruz and Page-Vincelli had gotten into an argument in the parking lot of the Kensington Square Shopping Centre on Hastings Street while Sharpe was inside the Royal Bank nearby, Smith said.
She said witnesses scheduled to testify during the 19-day trial will describe how Pournouruz, sitting inside a parked car, and Page-Vincelli, astride a bicycle, argued loudly together.
“I expect some will say that the male made a racist slur, including calling the woman a dirty immigrant,” Smith said. “I expect you will hear testimony about cigarettes being thrown, including testimony that the male flicked a cigarette at the woman.”
Smith said witnesses will testify they heard Pournouruz say she would get her boyfriend to beat him up.
After the dispute, Page-Vincelli went into the Starbucks, and Pournouruz went into the bank, Smith will argue.
Pournouruz and Sharpe were then seen coming out of the bank and entering the Starbucks, Smith said.
Smith said video evidence from the bank and the Starbucks will be “very important in this case,” with the video in the coffee shop capturing the fateful punch.
“As they enter the store, Mr. Page-Vincelli will enter the camera view, stand facing the entrance, eating from a bag of chips,” Smith said. “Mr. Sharpe steps around the female and punches Mr. Page-Vincelli who is still eating the chips. Mr. Page-Vincelli drops backwards out of the camera view, and the female and Mr. Sharpe quickly leave the Starbucks and leave the area.”
One of the first witnesses called Monday was a teen who had been part of a group selling Krispy Kreme donuts in front of the bank that afternoon to raise money for the Heart and Stroke Foundation.
She said she had seen a man and a woman arguing loudly and throwing a cigarette back and forth at each other about four times.
The teen said she had heard “racial slurs” and “a lot of swearing” between the two people.
“I can’t exactly remember the racial slurs but the word ‘dirty immigrant’ stuck in my mind,” she said describing what the man said.
The teen said she had heard the woman say she would get her boyfriend to “beat him up.”
After the argument, the teen said she had seen the man enter the Starbucks and the woman go into the bank.
The woman then came out of the bank with a tall man, she said, and the pair then rushed into the Starbucks.
Sharpe and Pournouruz have pleaded not guilty.
Their trial continues this week.