The alleged victim of an apparent drug-related kidnapping was a "mess" when he burst into the Ferndale Community Hall nearly two-and-a-half years ago, a witness testified Wednesday at the Prince George courthouse.
Michael Andrew Joseph Fitzgerald faces 19 charges and Francois Christiaan Meerholz, Dillan Meerholz and Craig Anthony Niedermayer each face 10 counts in relation to the April 15, 2012 incident.
The trial resumed this week after two weeks of proceedings in July. Further court time is expected to be booked by the end of this week for sometime in the fall.
On Wednesday, Bruce Edson told the court he was attending a presentation on organic farming at the community hall and was facing away from the hall's main door when he heard a voice from outside.
"It said something along the line of 'let me in, let me in,'" Edson said.
At first, he thought the person was in distress but then began to think someone was playing a practical joke. The next thing he knew someone had entered the building and there was a commotion at the front door.
"He looked like a mess, basically, and it looked like there was something obviously wrong with him," Edson said.
He noticed blood coming from one of the man's ears and heard the man complain about other injuries as he was brought into the back of a kitchen at the hall. By that time, Edson had used a friend's cellphone to call 911.
Edson and some others stayed with the man, whose identity is protected by a publication ban, as he continued to be nervous and upset and wanted all the doors shut and locked.
"He was very worried someone was going to come into the hall anyway they could," Edson said.
The man remained seated but asked for a knife at one point - the request was denied - and he would react to the noise of a table being taken down or chair being moved as the hall was being cleaned up.
Under cross examination, Edson agreed that "acting in a paranoid fashion" would be a good description of the man's behaviour but declined to speculate that the man was on drugs at the time.
The Crown is alleging that the four accused kidnapped the man and held him at a nearby property but he eventually escaped through a second-story window and fled to the nearby Ferndale Community Hall.
It's the second time the case has gone to trial. The first trial began in January, but was halted after nearly seven days of testimony when Provincial Court Judge Darrell O'Byrne fell ill. Judge Dan Weatherly is now hearing the case.
The trial continues today.