Thirty-year-old Thunder Bay resident Jake Raynard was enjoying a big gay night out with his boys when four teens started harassing and following them. Raynard’s friends escaped by taxi leaving him to get his skull shattered, cheekbone crushed, jaw broken and eye damaged by the teens. During the attack, Raynard kicked one of his assailants, as you might do to protect yourself. Except now it’s Raynard who’s pleading guilty to assault. Raynard claims he entered a guilty plea to avoid expensive court costs. Or is it because he’s the one who attacked first?
According to Raynard, one of the men grabbed his friend and started choking him. Raynard then attacked that guy, yelled at the assailants long enough for his pals to get into a cab, and ran into an alley where he defended himself with a brick. At this point the story gets confusing and only Raynard and his attackers know what happened. It’s possible he struck first in attempting to offset the coming attack, but alcohol blurs the memory and head injuries can cause post-traumatic amnesia so Raynard’s recollection of the night’s events could be shoddy at best.
Raynard initially got charged with two counts of assault with a weapon, which were withdrawn. He ended up taking a plea bargain on an assault charge to avoid a trial and got an absolute discharge, meaning that if he stays out of trouble the assault charge will get stripped from his record in a year. Raynard himself has admitted, “I may have exceeded some bounds. I’m a little bit in shock that I reacted that way. I’m not a violent person. There was alcohol and flared tempers. I have feelings of massive regret. It’s something that I’m dealing with on a daily basis.”
What Canadian court would have found Raynard guilty especially considering his injuries? Didn’t any of the 6,936 supporters on his Facebook page offer him legal advice? Or did he think that he didn’t have a chance because he attacked first? Since all his friends left in a taxi cab so he could get his ass kicked alone, we may never know what actually happened that night.