Homeless man lit on fire

A North Vancouver man who lit a homeless friend on fire after an argument, resulting in severe burns to the victim, has pleaded guilty to aggravated assault in North Vancouver provincial court.

Brian Kenneth Pert, 35, was originally charged with attempted murder of Russel Rozel, but pleaded guilty to the less serious charge Dec. 16 following a preliminary hearing.

Crown prosecutor Michelle Peacock said Pert, Rozel and a third man, Michael Smith, all knew each other from hanging out at the North Vancouver bottle depot, where “they had sort of a collective work group.”

But on Aug. 4, 2012, Pert and Rozel had some kind of disagreement after the two men had been drinking.

Pert went to a piece of land between the highway and the Holiday Inn where Rozel had been camping out and the two men got into an altercation.

In court,
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cards against humanity packs, known as the “grassy knoll,” to share some food and beer, after the pair finished at the bottle depot.

But when Smith arrived on his bicycle,
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“It looked like they were duking it out,” he said. “It happened quite fast.”

Smith said as he got closer,
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“He just went up so quick. . poof.”

Smith said he ran to Rozel as fast as he could and rolled him on the dry grass, trying to put the fire out, but the grass started to catch fire as well.

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