FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – A Fort St. John man charged with aggravated assault in a nightclub stabbing two years ago is pleading self-defense after being punched several times in the head.

Shaquen Mundt, 21, was charged in March 2018 after two people were stabbed outside the Lonestar nightclub on 100 Avenue downtown. A Fort St. John judge heard testimony and closing arguments in the trial last week.

Mundt’s lawyer Jennifer Currie is seeking an acquittal, and called the stabbing a reflex while Mundt was trying to flee a fight that broke out around 2 a.m. on March 18.

Witnesses say it began after a man punched Mundt in the head while telling him to leave the club. Mundt, who was 19 at the time, refused and was knocked to the ground.

It’s alleged Mundt then got up and stabbed the man, starting what Crown prosecutors described as a melee. Video surveillance from the scene showed several patrons trying to disarm Mundt, and a second man was stabbed. Both victims suffered non life threatening injuries, and Mundt fled the scene.

With the help of witnesses, police found Mundt nearby on 102 Avenue with the knife and arrested him. Officers who testified last week said Mundt complained of being punched in the head eight times, and was bleeding from a gash on his arm.

Crown prosecutor Daniel Kozera argued Mundt’s actions were more consistent with someone getting ready for a fight, rather than self defence. The video surveillance shows Mundt concealing the knife before flicking it open and stabbing the first victim.

Kozera argued Mundt could have avoided the fight altogether by walking away before he was punched, or after, as other patrons had asked him to leave. Alternatively, Kozera suggested Mundt could have responded with force more appropriate to the punch, using his fists instead of the knife.

Currie says Mundt’s intention has not been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

Judge Brian Daley has reserved his decision. Mundt will appear next on Aug. 6 to set a date for a verdict.

Email reporter Tom Summer at tsummer@ahnfsj.ca.