Skip to content

B.C. neighbours sue each other after ‘consensual’ brawl over excessive noise

Both sides were left injured, judge rules all at fault
Noise was at the heart of a physical fight between B.C. neighbours. (Pexels photo)

A dispute over excessive noise turned into a brawl that left people black and blue – leading both sides to sue each other.

The B.C. Civil Resolution Tribunal heard two linked disputes between the two sides involved in what the ruling called a “consensual fight.”

“Tracie Anne Lake and Michael William James, say they were attacked by the respondent and applicant by counterclaim, Paul Martin,” reads the CRT ruling. They were claiming more than $10,000 in personal injury damages, said the ruling.

“Mr. Martin says that he was attacked by the applicants and fought back in self-defence,” said the ruling, and he was claiming $5,000 in personal injury damages.

According to the CRT decision, Martin previously lived directly above Lake and James in the same building.

“All parties suffered injuries after a fight that took place on October 19, 2022,” said the CRT decision. “The parties disagree about what happened before and during the fight.”

The CRT ruling said that Lake and James blamed “excessive noise” from Martin’s residence for prompting them to ask him to be quieter.

“They say Mr. Martin was intoxicated and aggressive when he answered the door,” according to the CRT ruling. “Mr. James ran to Mr. Martin’s floor when he heard Mr. Martin shouting. They say they tried to take the elevator back to their residence, but Mr. Martin followed them and punched Mr. James 8-9 times. They say Ms. Lake tried to push Mr. Martin off Mr. James and Mr. Martin then punched Ms. Lake 3-4 times.”

Hospital records show that James suffered a fractured nose and bruises to his face, said the CRT ruling.

“Mr. Martin gives a different version of events,” said the CRT ruling. “He says Ms. Lake knocked very loudly on his door and then swore and shouted at him about his children being too loud. He says he left his unit and closed the door behind him so his children would not hear the shouting.

“He says he tried to usher Ms. Lake down the hall toward the elevator, however Mr. James came from the elevator and shouted at him aggressively. He says Mr. James punched him in the head so he hit back in self-defence. He says Ms. Lake jumped on him so he put his arm up to push her away.”

Martin suffered a black eye and he told the CRT that his young children experienced mental distress. The CRT ruling said that Martin ended up moving out after the incident.

No criminal charges were filed in the case, said the CRT ruling.

The CRT ended up dismissing the claims of both parties. saying the fight was “consensual” and neither party is entitled to damages.

“On balance, I find that all of the parties participated in the fight. I find it most likely that the parties had a heated argument about noise from Mr. Martin’s residence. I find that all parties engaged in this confrontation which escalated to a physical fight where both Mr. James and Mr. Martin threw punches and Ms. Lake pushed Mr. Martin. I place significant weight on the report by the police officer who attended the scene. I agree with the police officer’s assessment that all of the parties suffered similar injuries which indicates that this was a mutual or consensual fight.

READ MORE: ‘I’m screwed’: Victoria patients irate as doctor announces clinic is closing

Chris Campbell

About the Author: Chris Campbell

I joined the Victoria News hub as an editor in 2023, bringing with me over 30 years of experience from community newspapers in Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley
Read more