Canadians in Dominican post-wedding fight face jail, $100K fines
The prosecution is seeking two-year jail terms for two Canadian men imprisoned in the Dominican Republic following a post-wedding brawl last month.
Court documents obtained by CBC News also reveal that in addition to the jail terms, prosecutors are also asking for $100,000 fines against Nick Miele, 34, and his cousin, Ben Constantini, 18, both of Stoney Creek.
The two have been behind bars since the early morning hours of May 28, just hours after Miele and Stacey Vernon were married at the Bahia Principe Esmeralda resort in Punta Cana.
Vernon said her husband and his cousin were thrown in jail unjustly after a fight broke out at their resort between a group of Canadian men they didn’t know.
Vernon, who is still in the Dominican, called the prosecutor’s allegations “ridiculous.”
Along with other family members, she is fighting to free the men.
“We’re really hopeful this will all be over soon. I’m in the courts pretty much all day.”
Justin Worby of Georgetown, Ont., was on the resort at the same time for his wedding, and told CBC News that the fight started between two men in line at the resort’s snack bar. He had never met Miele, Constantini or Vernon before that night, he said.
“They fell down on a group of women, and one of [the women] got hit in the face,” Worby said. Miele and Constantini both “jumped in and started fighting the guy,” while the other man involved took off, he said. Worby said the woman the men fell on was Vernon.
A third man jumped in to kick and sucker punch the man Constantini and Miele were struggling with, Worby said. Jennifer Schanck from Burlington, Ont., who also witnessed the fight, gave a similar account.
“From behind me, from out of nowhere, this guy is screaming in what sounded like Russian,” she said. “He just flew in and drop-kicked this other guy. It was unbelievable. I thought he was dead.”
That man then took off over the resort fence, she said.
‘I was telling them to stop hitting him’
According to a written statement from the wife of the seriously injured man, both Miele and Constantini were involved in the fight.
“I saw some people jump on my husband,” the woman wrote. “[Miele] hit my husband and another person — the other guy was pushing him. He was on the ground. I was telling them to stop hitting him.”
The injured man sustained trauma to the head, bruising and some superficial injuries, according to a medical report filed with the court.
The Canadian government will not divulge the identities of either of the two other men, citing privacy concerns. Vernon said as far as she knows, the injured man left for Canada on May 30.
Repeated requests for comment from local police and the Bahia Principe Esmeralda resort in Punta Cana were not returned.
‘Advocating for fairness and due process’
In a statement, Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas and Consular Affairs) Diane Ablonczy told CBC News that the Canadian government is working with Miele’s family, their lawyer and local authorities.
She said the federal government is “advocating for fairness and due process for both Canadian parties involved.”
“While guilt or innocence has not yet been determined, Dominican officials assure us they are investigating as per their own sovereign laws in order for justice to be properly served,” she said.
According to court documents, Miele and Constantini are being held for a three-month period so authorities can gather evidence and because they are considered a flight risk.
Category: DR News |