Murray Poole was allegedly assaulted by a group of four people on March 16 at this location on Ward Street. Photo: Tyler Harper

Homeless man allegedly swarmed by group in downtown Nelson

Justus Taylor Bisch is charged with assault causing bodily harm

A homeless man who was allegedly swarmed by four people in downtown Nelson is the victim in an assault trial that began Wednesday.

That man can’t testify, however, because he later died in what a police officer told court was an unrelated event currently being investigated as a homicide.

Murray Poole, 59, was allegedly assaulted by one man, Justus Taylor Bisch, and three other males shortly after midnight outside Wait’s News’ former location at Ward and Baker Streets on March 16.

Bisch faces one charge of assault causing bodily harm. The Star cannot name the other alleged assailants because they were under 18 at the time of the incident.

Two witnesses — an employee of Wait’s News and a customer — both testified they intervened when they saw Poole being kicked and punched by the four assailants while he was lying on Ward Street.

It’s not clear who or what instigated the event. Both witnesses said the group alleged Poole spit or blew snot on them, while another complained Poole may have stolen his wallet.

Nelson Police Department Cst. Mike McKerracher was the first officer to arrive on the scene. He told the court he was first approached by Bisch, who said he had been assaulted. McKerracher testified Bisch did not appear to have injuries, but had alcohol on his breath.

McKerracher also said Poole was bleeding heavily with a laceration on his scalp, a nose that appeared to be broken, and agitation the officer noted is consistent with a head injury. Poole, he said, also appeared intoxicated.

McKerracher told the court that Poole is the subject of an active homicide investigation, although he did not divulge any more details or say when Poole died.

Poole gave two statements to police, the first at the time of the alleged assault and another on March 28. Judge Phillip Seagram ruled the statements were inconsistent, unreliable, could not be scrutinized by cross examination and were therefore inadmissible.

Bisch, meanwhile, has not testified.

The trial, which ran through Thursday, will resume in December.



tyler.harper@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Lock at Keenleyside Dam near Castlegar to open on May 23

The navigational lock will be open every day of the week from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m

Morning start: Rossland is named after this person

Here is your Kootenays’ morning start for Friday, May 22

Castlegar green spaces will see less maintenance this year

Mowing, weeding and watering will be reduced

LIVE: Procession to honour Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey comes to Halifax

Snowbirds service member died in a crash in Kamloops one week ago

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

RCMP facing ‘systemic sustainability challenges’ due to provincial policing role

Provinces, territories and municipalities pay anywhere from 70 to 90 per cent of the cost of the RCMP’s services

One man dead after standoff with Chilliwack RCMP

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the RCMP’s role in the death

B.C. employers worry about safety, cash flow, second wave in COVID-19 restart

A survey found 75 per cent of businesses worry about attracting customers

Ex-BC Greens leader Andrew Weaver says province came close to early election

Disagreement centred on the LNG Canada project in northern B.C.

Canada’s NHL teams offer options to season-ticket holders

Canadian teams are offering refunds, but also are pushing a number of incentives to let them keep the money

B.C. premier says lessons to learn from past racism during response to pandemic

B.C. formally apologized in the legislature chamber in 2008 for its role in the Komagata Maru tragedy

Snowbirds to remain at Kamloops Airport indefinitely after fatal crash

small contingent of the Snowbirds team is staying in Kamloops, acting as stewards of the jets

Most Read