Accused in Yellowknife assault says he was drunk, blacked out

A man charged with shoplifting and with pushing an elderly woman down when he was fleeing said he blacked out and doesn't remember an altercation with the woman.

Jacob Griep is charged with shoplifting and pushing an elderly woman down

A trial against a man accused of injuring an elderly woman in downtown Yellowknife wrapped up Tuesday afternoon.

Jacob Griep, 28, is charged with shoplifting from the downtown grocery store in April and with pushing a woman down when he was fleeing the store, severely injuring her.

Witnesses took the stand in court, including Griep and the victim.

The alleged incident happened at the downtown location of Extra Foods in Yellowknife. (CBC)

The victim was Mary Cleary, who is 63. She testified that a "young kid" grabbed her by the jacket collar and pushed her face down on the ground.

Several other witnesses testified - and video surveillance showed - that a man banged into Cleary, then turned around and pushed her.

In court, Griep said he had drank malt liquor, vodka and two bottles of hand sanitizer before he went into the store. He said he went there to steal meat, but says he blacked out and doesn’t remember an altercation with a woman.

Cleary was left with a broken eye socket, broken wrist and a cracked rib. She had to travel to Alberta for eye surgery.

A judge is expected to sentence Jacob Griep Wednesday, Oct. 17. (CBC)

Now, six months later, Cleary says her vision is cloudy, and her eye, which is visibly red and small, still causes her pain.

While Cleary says she was in the man's way, she and other witnesses say there was plenty of room for him to get by as he ran away from the store manager.

Griep admitted he had just been spotted with steak in his jacket and he'd thrown the meat down.

Mary Cleary, 63, in April, 2012. Cleary says a young man grabbed her by her jacket collar and pushed her to the ground. She received a broken wrist, a broken eye socket and a cracked rib in the incident.

After that, he says his memory goes blank.

The RCMP arrested Griep an hour after the incident at Yellowknife's day shelter, where they found him lying on a couch.

Griep's lawyer said he had considered a mental health defence, and said he warned his client about the strength of the Crown's case and about what the likely verdict will be. His lawyer said he couldn't get any direction from Griep, which is why the trial went ahead Tuesday.

The judge will give her verdict on Wednesday.