A manslaughter trial in Nelson has opened with the revelation that an off-duty Abbotsford police constable died after being struck over the head with a skateboard.
The Crown began its case this morning against Alex Willness, who is charged in the death of Cst. Allan Young, who was fatally injured following an incident on Baker Street on July 16, 2020. Young died in hospital five days later. Willness, of Castlegar, was charged in March 2021 and has remained in custody since.
Prosecutor Cheryl Anne Pine told the court Young was dining at Cantina del Centro, a downtown restaurant, before the incident.
“The Cantina video surveillance equipment captured a fatal encounter between Young and Willness during the night in question,” Pine said. “The two men were complete strangers.
“Mr. Young, and the lady he was with, were seated at a table along with two other couples.”
Pine said the group was on a patio when Young became distracted by an incident happening off the property.
“Mr. Young remained on the patio for a period of time due to something he was focused on in the distance. Three men on Josephine and Baker street, about half a block away, were headed in his direction. Willness was one of those men.”
Pine described the altercation between the two parties as swift with the end result being horrific.
“The event itself lasted less than a minute,” she said. “It culminated with Willness striking Young over the head with a skateboard. Young immediately fell to the ground.”
The Crown called witnesses from that night, but the first witness to testify today was Dr. Rahul Kholsa, who examined Young when he first came in to hospital.
Kholsa, a doctor at Kootenay Lake Hospital, says Young was brought in conscious but he quickly deteriorated.
“Young was brought in with a skull fracture from the skateboard impact,” he says. “This led to him having a brain hemmorage as well as other complications.”
Kholsa confirmed head trauma was the chief complaint, but also indicated a high degree of intoxication in Young.
“Young did exhibit signs of intoxication upon arrival,” he says. “Tests results showed he has five to six times the legal limit of alcohol in his system.”
Kholsa did not confirm if intoxication was a contributing factor in Young’s death.
The trial began following pre-trial motions last week.
Justice Lindsay Lyster is hearing the case alone.