One of the men accused of fatally stabbing 23-year-old Esa Carriere during Canada Day festivities in 2018 was grilled on the stand in a Kelowna courtroom on Thursday.
Crown prosecutor Colin Forsyth spent much of the day asking Noah Vaten what he remembered and trying to poke holes in his previous testimony.
Court has heard that fireworks were still underway on July 1, 2018, when there was a scuffle near Kasugai Gardens involving Carriere and four other people, and that Carriere may have struck someone before running away.
Court heard Carriere was chased by the group but fell to the ground, where they allegedly punched and kicked him.
He was then stabbed in the heart, and although he was taken to hospital, did not survive, court heard.
Many of Forsyth’s questions on Thursday centred around the police interview conducted after Vaten had been charged with manslaughter in January 2019.
“I wasn’t asking officers to prove that I did it, I was asking them if I did it,” Vaten told court.
Vaten has maintained that he blacked out around the time of Carriere’s killing.
“I didn’t believe I did it,” he said, adding that he didn’t know what had actually happened. “And that is why I was asking for evidence.”
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The Crown noted that he had never once told police that he was innocent.
“I didn’t know if I was innocent or not, so I didn’t want to tell them I was innocent, in case there was a possibility I wasn’t,” he replied.
After his arrest, Vaten was thrown into a jail cell with an undercover officer.
Court heard that he told the officer that his friends had chased Carriere, who tripped and fell, and then Vaten had walked up and stabbed him.
The Crown also said that Vaten told the officer that he even tried to turn himself in by kicking at the windows of the Rutland police station, but that the officer who arrested him thought he was rambling when he said he was going to jail for a long time.
However, Vaten testified that the undercover officer had pretended to be a hardened criminal, and he said he was scared to be in a cell with him.
“I would have said probably anything to make myself look tough.”
He told court that when he was initially arrested, he was conflicted about whether or not he had stabbed Carriere.
He also said that he knew whoever stabbed the young man was not going to step forward, and that Carriere’s family deserved justice.
“I believe to the bottom of my heart the reason I finally said, ‘I did it,’ even though I did not know if I did it or not, was because I wanted that situation to be over with so bad,” he said.
“I knew if I wasn’t the person that (the stabbing), whoever did do it, wasn’t going to own up to it.”
He told the court he deals with his severe anxiety by playing video games, and an officer had told him that inmates were allowed to play video games in jail.
“And I just thought, if I can play video games in jail, (Carriere’s) family deserves for someone to go to jail for it, so I thought it might as well be me.”
Vaten will continue testifying on the stand on Friday, and the trial is expected to continue into next week.