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Headbutter in Burnaby café brawl nets conditional discharge

Liu Yuan Song, 33, has pleaded guilty to assaulting four other men at a Metrotown restaurant in March 2019
cafe brawl
A fight broke out between two groups of men at Estea Café on March 10, 2019. A 33-year-old man has now been sentenced for assault.

A 33-year-old man who assaulted four other men in a brawl at a Burnaby café two-and-a-half years ago was given a 12-month conditional discharge this week.  

Liu Yuan Song had been charged with multiple counts of assault causing bodily harm, uttering threats and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose in connection with a fight at Estea Café on Beresford St. on March 10, 2019.

Song and some friends had approached one of the victims at the café at about 2:30 p.m. and accused him of staring at them, according to agreed facts read out in Vancouver provincial court by Crown prosecutor Jeffrey LaPorte Thursday. 

The man, David Feng Liang, told Song and his group he was not staring at them and apologized, LaPorte said.

“At this point Mr. Song was holding a baton and said, ‘Do you know who I am?’ Mr. Song tried to initiate a physical altercation but was restrained by some of his friends,” LaPorte said.

Liang and his group then started a verbal confrontation with Song and his group, and Song held up the baton to Liang’s head, according to the agreed facts.

The groups were then separated and left the café.

About 30 minutes later, however, Song and his associates returned and demanded café staff call the other group back to the store.

“So that’s what happened,” LaPorte said. “Staff members at the store called Mr. Liang and his associates back to the store, and a physical altercation ensued.”

Song head-butted Liang, hit him on the head with a plant pot, hit him with a chair and punched him “three or more times,” according to LaPorte.

He also kicked and punched other members of the group.

LaPorte said the melee was captured on CCTV.

He said the incident has had a “significant impact” on the victims, but he noted Song doesn’t have a criminal record.

In a joint sentencing submission, both LaPorte and defence lawyer Michael Klein called for a 12-month conditional discharge, which means Song will not have a criminal record if he abides by his conditions.

Klein said there had been bad blood between the two groups before the fight.

“Before all of this started, there was another altercation where Mr. Song got the worst of it,” he said. Klein noted the conditional discharge was important because Song is a Chinese citizen who has had permanent resident status in Canada for about 10 years.

Judge Ellen Gordon agreed to the conditional discharge, saying “I don’t want to hurt your immigration status in Canada.”

During the term of his sentence, Song is not allowed to attend Estea Café or have contact with any of the victims.

He is also banned from possessing any weapons except for knives for work and preparing food.

Follow Cornelia Naylor on Twitter @CorNaylor

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