SIX NATIONS – Two years ago, Six Nations’ Delby Powless Jr. was involved in an altercation outside the Lawson House Inn in Hagersville resulting in aggravated assault charges levied on Powless, which he pleaded not guilty to.
After a long and stressful wait, the verdict of the jury was finally read by the court in favour of Powless, declaring him not guilty of all charges.
Last week, the jury heard testimony entered by Powless and that of the other male party in the parking lot fight, as well as that of the bartender who was on duty that night.
Conflicting, ever-changing and erratic testimony by the plaintiff in the case caused jury members to doubt the story as told by the plaintiff while Powless’ recollections of the incident were clear and corroborated and remained unchanged since police arrested Powless at his home the day following the fight.
Powless testified that he and a friend were at the Lawson House watching a Toronto Maple Leafs game at the bar when an obviously drunken man began following the young female bartender into the private employees office late in the evening.
According to Powless’ testimony, noticing the discomfort of the young bartender, who was working without a bouncer on duty that night, Powless told the guy to back off, setting off a verbal joust between the two men. Powless left the bar to go home about 10 minutes after the man who seemed to be waiting for him.
Powless’ testimony stated that he was attacked and swung at by the man who was obviously drunk and out for a fight. Defending himself, Powless and the man began to do battle, in which Powless quickly gained the upper hand.
“This guy just kept coming so I hit him again, but he still wanted to go,” recalls Powless. “I kept hitting him because he would not stop so I though I would have to knock the guy out to stop him, so I hit him again.”
The bartender called police and told Powless he had better get out of there, which he did and went home.
Rumours began quickly swirling that the man had died as a result of the beating, but although he was beaten badly, that proved not to be the case.
“You wouldn’t believe some of the rumours that were going around about me,” Powless recalls.
“It was hard not being able to tell what happened from my perspective since the case was under investigation. In court, his story and the police report contradicted one another several times and the jury believed me.”
But although innocent of anything more than defending himself, there was unfortunate fallout from his place of employment, the Six Nations Child Services, who fired him when the charged were filed forcing him out of the career he loved, working with kids.
Now that Powless has been declared not guilty of the offence, he is hoping to get his job and his soiled reputation back in the near future.