The friend of a man who was killed during a fight at a Coquitlam, B.C. dog park nearly a year ago is calling for justice after no charges were laid in connection with his death.
John Sobhani said he and Anton Ossipchuk were walking their dogs shortly after midnight on May 8, 2022, at Glen Elementary School, when his dog ran up to three strange males who were nearby.
Sobhani said he told the group his dog was friendly, but the group began to swear and threaten them. Eventually, Sobhani said Ossipchuk approached them — “a little bit triggered” — but before he could reach his friend, a physical altercation had broken out.
Ossipchuk, 29, was fatally stabbed.
“A good friend, a confidante — someone you could confide in and talk about your problems and vice versa,” Sobhani said of his companion. “He always had a lot of good advice.”
Sobhani and Ossipchuk’s family recently learned that while a suspect had been taken into custody in connection with the case, no charges were laid against him.
“That’s when we took to trying to gain some public interest in this case, because apparently Crown only really cares to prosecute cases where there’s a lot of public interest,” Sobhani alleged.
“Justice needs to be served.”
In an emailed statement, the BC Prosecution Service said it carefully reviewed all investigative materials submitted by the RCMP’s Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) related to Ossipchuk’s death.
It also outlined its charge assessment guidelines, including, “whether there is a substantial likelihood of conviction,” and if so, “whether the public interest requires a prosecution.”
“In this case the assessing crown could not conclude that the charge assessment standard was met and no charges were approved,” wrote communications counsel Dan McLaughlin.
“The BCPS has no further comment.”
Ossipchuk’s family has said an autopsy report revealed he was stabbed multiple times, but they were told “self-defence” was the main reason charges were refused.
Sobhani said he and the family want the Crown to reexamine the case, with an online petition rapidly gaining signatures of support.
“When you deem something like this as self-defence, you’re rubbing Anton’s name through the dirt and that’s something that just isn’t true and it was not the case,” he told Global News.
“For them to portray it as they (did) was pretty heartbreaking for all of us, but especially the family.”
Sobhani said he also wants to feel safe walking at the dog park again at night, and for the general public to feel safe doing the same.