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Victoria jury finds Mohamed Omar guilty of second-degree murder

Omar guilty for the stabbing of John Dickinson outside Victoria's Lucky Bar nightclub in 2022

A jury has found Mohamed Daud Omar guilty of second-degree murder for stabbing 30-year-old John Dickinson outside Victoria’s Lucky Bar nightclub in 2022.

Omar had represented himself in the trial and made almost zero attempt to counter the arguments of the Crown prosecutor. Nonetheless, the jury took roughly 16 hours over two days to return a verdict.

As the guilty verdict was delivered Omar sat seemingly unmoved. He did ask the judge about the appeals process following the dismissal of the jury.

Several of Dickinson’s family members sat in the gallery. They exclaimed loudly and erupted into tears just after the verdict was read. 

"I don't have this weight anymore," Dickinson's sister Jasmine Bauer told reporters outside the courthouse.

Aly Bitze sat crying after the verdict was read. She was Dickinson's girlfriend and was with him at the bar when he was stabbed. She had tried in vain to put pressure on his wound before bar security took over first aid.

"He'll be heavily missed," Bitze said. "He's still so loved."

The events that led up to Dickinson’s stabbing in the early hours of March 1, 2022 were described from many different angles during the three-week trial.

It is clear an argument between the two men began in the bar — though it is still unknown what sparked it — and that it spilled out onto the sidewalk after security removed Omar. 

It is also evident that Dickinson initiated the physical contact outside the bar. He had left the bar shortly after Omar was kicked out, and when he saw Omar standing out front, Dickinson rushed at him, and the two men fell to the ground. 

As the two men fell, Dickinson was yelling expletives. But those curses quickly turned to grunts as the two men fought. Once the two were separated, Dickinson was left with two bleeding wounds, one on his chest and a fatal one one his abdomen. 

According to witnesses and cctv cameras, Omar quickly fled the scene. A man who identified himself as Mohamed Omar called 911 less than an hour afterwards and admitted to having stabbed someone, saying it was in self-defence.

But Crown prosecutors laid out a case to illustrate Omar had responded to the aggression from Dickinson with undue force and in an intentional manner.

“You don’t bring a knife to a fist fight,” Crown counsel Tim Stokes said in his closing arguments.

Stokes leaned heavily on the eye-witness accounts of two bar security personnel, highlighting testimony from the doorman who heard Omar utter under his breath shortly before the altercation something to the effect of “I'm going to f*** that guy up.” 

Prosecutors used this and the fact that Omar didn’t seem to be under any real threat due the presence of bar security to neuter any potential self-defence arguments.

"Johnny didn't deserve to die for throwing a punch," his mother Dorraine Dickinson said after the verdict.

In the end, Omar did not even make an attempt to plead self-defence. He called no witnesses and made no closing arguments, making almost no efforts to build a case for himself. 

He represented himself despite the availability of legal defence services that would be provided at no cost.

This clearly cause some procedural challenges and forced the judge to repeatedly remove the jury from the courtroom to explain to Omar that he was entitled to cross-examine witnesses, call his own witnesses and make closing arguments.

“If I understand correctly, that your intention is to say nothing at all in your defence?” Justice Anthony Saunders asked before closing arguments began. 

“I've never had a defendant say nothing,” he added.

The sentence for second-degree murder is life in prison. The number of years before he is eligible for parole is up to the judge, but cannot be less than 10. A jury can make a recommendation of the number of years before parole is possible and only three members elected to do so, advocating for it to be set at 20 years.

The actual sentence is still ultimately it is up to the judge, and a date for sentencing has yet to be scheduled.

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About the Author: Mark Page

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