Accused in Langley beating offers far different account than witnesses

Defendant takes stand, says he was not the aggressor in November, 2014 attack that injured Chris Lefrenier

A 20-year-old charged in a November, 2014 beating of a man in Langley City took the stand last Thursday, telling a much different version of events than witnesses offered earlier in his trial.

Mathew Samms, 20, is charged with assault causing bodily harm and robbery in connection to the beating of Chris Lafrenier, who suffered a head injury during the altercation.

Samms took the stand at his trial on Aug. 27 in Surrey Provincial Court.

A 16-year-old Aldergrove boy has already pleaded guilty and been sentenced for assaulting and robbing Lafrenier. His name can’t be published because he is a young offender. He also took the stand in defense of his friend.

Samms told the court that he and his friend were coming home from partying at a girl’s house, realizing the younger boy had missed his court-ordered curfew of 9 p.m.

He testified it was Lafrenier who started hurling profanities their way while the two teens walked toward the bus stop, heading north along 203 Street near the Army & Navy.

Samms testified that he responded with some profanity but figured that was it. He  claimed Lafrenier then dropped his duffel bag and jumped his friend, punching him from behind on the side of the head.

“My first thought is to protect my friend, so I pulled him off [the teen] and punched him three times in the nose,” said Samms.

That’s when Samms said his teenage friend ran at Lafrenier, throwing punches. The victim turtled and the boy threw him into some bushes.

While the victim was on the ground protecting his face and head, the 15-year-old attacker kicked him in the head 10 to 15 times, the boy later testified.

“He tried to cover up but I just kept beating on him,” the teen said in court.

Samms said he never laid a hand on the victim other than the first punches to the nose.

Two witnesses to the assault took the stand earlier in the trial to say that both boys had beaten Lafrenier. The younger one was more aggressive, they said, but both had taken part.

When Langley RCMP arrested both teens a short distance away, they seized Samms’ clothing. Blood evidence found on Samms’ boots and jeans matched Lafrenier’s.

Crown asked if Samms knew of his young friend ever getting into fights before.

Samms said he didn’t. Crown pointed out that the curfew the young man was under was for assault.

Testimony from the teenager who pleaded guilty already proved contradictory to the accused’s words in the trial.

Samms was asked by Crown whether he has had any contact with the accused in the year since the assault. His bail conditions require him to have no contact.

Samms replied that he has had no contact.

“Did you not high-five him outside this courtroom.

“Did you not have lunch with him? Did you discuss the trial?”

Samms replied that he did go for lunch with the teen, but thought he was allowed to because it was within his time at trial.

While on the stand, Crown asked the now 16-year-old if he had lunch with Samms.

He replied that he hadn’t, nor had he had any contact with him.

The final submissions in the trial from defense and Crown will take place on Monday, Sept. 21.