Calgary

Calgary man charged with attempted murder goes free after victim becomes 'unfindable'

A Calgary man accused of attempted murder after a February 2016 stabbing walked out of the Calgary Courts Centre a free man on Wednesday.

David Vernon was charged following a February 2016 stabbing in northeast Calgary

David Vernon, charged with attempted murder, was issued a stay of proceedings at the Calgary Courts Centre on Wednesday. (David Bell/CBC)

A Calgary man accused of attempted murder after a February 2016 stabbing walked out of the Calgary Courts Centre on Wednesday a free man.

David Vernon was arrested in B.C. by Sparwood RCMP nearly two weeks after the Feb. 7, 2016, stabbing of a man outside a northeast Calgary laundromat. 

Vernon was later charged with attempted murder.

'Here without the only eyewitness'

On Wednesday, Court of Queen's Bench Justice Beth Hughes issued Vernon's case a stay of proceedings.

Crown prosecutor Tom Buglas told the court that the incident was serious.

"One that almost killed the complainant," he said. "I don't think anyone is disputing that."

But Buglas said that in the past few months the victim had made himself "unfindable."

"I am here without the only eyewitness — the key witness," he said.

Witness protection

According to Buglas, the victim entered into a relationship with the witness protection program following the attack on his life. 

"He was not in the program but had an association with it, and they've been trying for months to find him," he said. "I'm concerned as to why this individual has voluntarily, or perhaps not voluntarily, left the protection of the police. But it appears that it was his decision."

At that point, Buglas asked Hughes for a stay of proceedings. 

Stabbing outside laundromat

The incident in question occurred on Feb. 7, 2016. Police were called to the area of Memorial Drive and 52nd Street N.E. at around 7:30 p.m. for reports of a man having been stabbed. 

According to police, the man was attacked outside a laundromat before running to a home in the area for help. He was then rushed to hospital in serious condition.

At the time, police said they believed the accused and the victim were known to each other and that the accused was visiting the victim at his home. 

Vernon appeared in court on Wednesday wearing jeans, a baggy red shirt and puffy vest. Following Justice Hughes' decision for a stay of proceedings, Vernon stood and thanked her before walking out of the prisoner's box.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lucie Edwardson

Journalist

Lucie Edwardson is a reporter with CBC Calgary, currently focused on bringing you stories related to safety on Calgary Transit. Follow her on Twitter @LucieEdwardson or reach her by email at lucie.edwardson@cbc.ca

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