Accused Vancouver Cup rioter feared for safety following backlash

Spencer Kirkwood, 25 leaving the Provincial Court in Vancouver, British Columbia, Wednesday December 14, 2011.



VANCOUVER -- The first accused Stanley Cup rioter to go to trial phoned 911 in the days following the mayhem to tell authorities he feared for his safety when images of him spread online.

Spencer Kirkwood, 26, who appeared in court Monday wearing a dark shirt and grey tie, is the first person to go to trial after entering a not-guilty plea. More than 30 others have been sentenced for riot-related offences after pleading guilty.

Witness Greg Potocky, a self-described comedic film producer, posted a YouTube video featuring the smiling accused pumping his fists in the air before using a city barricade to smash windows at the downtown Telus building.

"He seemed to enjoy it quite a bit," Potocky said after the video was played in court.

In an agreed statement of facts, Crown lawyer Patti Tomasson said Kirkwood began Game 7 at a friend's Yaletown home where he did shots and drank beer.

Kirkwood and his friends later commented on smoke they saw rising from a burning car at the Live Site, but he told investigators all could remember after that was waking up the next morning.

He's also on trial for violating his probation after police pulled him over for running a red light last May. Tests later showed he had alcohol in his system.

When police confronted him about his probation conditions that banned alcohol consumption, Tomasson said her client told officers, "That must be for the riot," right before adding he was only involved in the mayhem for "45 seconds."

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