'He coldcocked me with this snow globe': how fist of flurry marred family's Christmas

A Vancouver Island man has been found guilty of sucker-punching his neighbour with a snow globe on Christmas Day 2016.

Vancouver Island man found guilty of sucker-punching his neighbour with a snow globe

'He took the first swing and … it was a snow globe and smashed my glasses off my face,' Mr. Lanty told court in Nanaimo, recalling the fight that broke out in his driveway on Christmas Day 2016. (Paul Joseph/Flickr)

It was a Christmas to remember for the Lanty family — but for all the wrong reasons.

The Qualicum Beach, B.C., family was walking down their driveway on Christmas Day 2016 when they saw their neighbour, Gabriel Stephen Nelson, parking his vehicle behind theirs and blocking their exit. 

"The families are not on good terms," Judge Ted Gouge noted in the first line of his July 10 ruling concerning the dispute that broke out.

"Mr. Nelson made a number of remarks in a sarcastic tone of voice, disparaging the Lanty family's Christmas spirit," wrote the judge.

'You need to leave now'

When Nelson confronted Ms. Lanty — the family's first names were withheld by the judge — Mr. Lanty stepped in front of his wife and told Nelson, "You need to leave now." 

That's when Nelson struck Mr. Lanty on the cheek with a snow globe that he held in his hand. 

A struggle ensued and both men fell to the ground. Punches were exchanged, but Nelson, who was described as significantly larger and stronger than Lanty, quickly gained the upper hand. 

Lanty's son jumped in and together they subdued Nelson and held him until police arrived. 

'Smashed my glasses off my face'

In court in Nanaimo, Nelson did not challenge any of that testimony, but instead argued that the fight was consensual.

Lanty disagreed and testified that Nelson "coldcocked me with this snow globe."

"He took the first swing and … it was a snow globe and smashed my glasses off my face," Lanty told the court.

The judge sided with Lanty.

"In the rustic vernacular of Vancouver Island, to 'coldcock' someone is to strike them, usually in the head, without prior warning or challenge," wrote the judge in the ruling.

"The technique is also referred to as a 'sucker punch' ... I am satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that this was not a consensual fight."

Nelson was convicted of assault and of breach of probation for failing to keep the peace. He has yet to be sentenced.

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