Charles LeBlanc found not guilty of assaulting busker
Andrew Spencer said he was sucker-punched in 2014, but blogger argued punch was in self-defence
Fredericton blogger Charles LeBlanc was pronounced not guilty Wednesday of assaulting a busker in downtown Fredericton in July of 2014.
Provincial court Judge Julian Dickson delivered his verdict Wednesday on the summary conviction charge.
In delivering his ruling, Dickson said "we have two very divergent stories" and three versions of the incident. Dickson also noted the testimony of a third witness tended to support LeBlanc's version of events.
Dickson said it was up to the Crown to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt and that while he did not necessarily believe LeBlanc's story, he did have reasonable doubt as to whether an assault took place.
Dickson had reserved his decision after hearing testimony May 4 in a one-day trial on the summary conviction charge of assault.
LeBlanc was charged with assault after busker Andrew Spencer complained to Fredericton police that he was sucker-punched by LeBlanc in the city's downtown area on July 3, 2014.
Crown witness Terry Wishart testified it was Spencer who initiated the confrontation and he was being aggressive and "provocative" toward LeBlanc.
LeBlanc was pleased with the verdict, thanking people who contributed to his defence fund.
"There's a lot of people on the street who couldn't believe how this made it to court in the first place," he said.
The Miramichi Police Force investigated the case due to LeBlanc's acrimonious relationship with the Fredericton Police Force.
LeBlanc writes a blog on politics and social justice issues and has had repeated run-ins with the Fredericton police.
He was charged with criminal libel in 2012 for allegedly damaging the reputation of a Fredericton police officer in a 2011 post on his blog.
The provincial attorney general's office later ordered a stay of proceedings in the case because the section of the Criminal Code used to charge LeBlanc had been deemed unconstitutional in other jurisdictions.