UPDATE – Three men charged with assaulting aboriginal fisherman

Three Port Alberni men are facing criminal charges in connection with an assault on an aboriginal fisherman last weekend.

  • Wed May 16th, 2012 8:00am
  • News

Three Port Alberni men are facing assault charges in connection with an assault on an aboriginal fisherman last weekend.

Port Alberni RCMP Cpl. Jen Allan confirmed that three men – one age 41 and two age 17 – were arrested on Tuesday in connection with the incident, which occurred on Saturday, May 12.

A fourth man was said to have been involved in the incident but the 36-year-old wasn’t charged. The evidence suggested charging three individuals.”

All the men are Port Alberni residents, Allan said.

The men were apprehended as a result of a number of investigative leads, as well as from video from the Petrocan station where the incident happened, she added.

The men have been released from custody on a promise to appear in court on June 21, as well as a no-contact with the victim, Bert McCarthy.

The information hasn’t been sworn yet, therefore the name of the adult that has been charged can’t be released, Allan said.

On May 12, McCarthy , 41, ­— a Hupacasath tribe member — was assaulted by four men outside of the Petrocan station on River Road.

McCarthy suffered a severely broken leg in the incident and was in Nanaimo General Hospital but recently released.

McCarthy was earlier traveling by boat up the Alberni canal when he encountered two jet skiers. “The assault stems from that incident,” Allan said.

McCarthy traveled to Alberni where he docked his boat before making his way to Petrocan.

There, he found two vehicles with jet skis on trailers.

“There was an argument and the fight broke out,” Allan said.

An off-duty police officer driving along River Road found McCarthy being attacked by four individuals.

The officer stopped to help McCarthy and the suspects fled.

Hupacasath chief councillor Steven Tatoosh said that he doesn’t know what all the facts are yet so he is reserving comment.

“I’m going to see Berto today and will be speaking to police.”

Hupacasath fisherman Tom Tatoosh said it’s fishing season and aboriginal fishermen — including himself — are often sworn at by people along the road.

“I don’t know all the facts yet so I don’t want to say too much,” Tatoosh said.

“But I really hope that this has nothing to do with race.”

Anyone with any information about the incident can call police at 250-723-2424 or Port Alberni Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

Edited to reflect number of men charged and charges they face.