An arrest warrant has been issued for a man involved in a violent incident in downtown Yellowknife last July – but it’s not the alleged attacker police are looking for.

The victim of the alleged assault – who suffered gashes to the head area after allegedly being slashed with a weapon by an assailant near the Joe Tobie Building on the evening of July 27 – is the subject of a material witness warrant.

The rare courtroom move, sought by the Crown and granted by Judge Brian Bruser in NWT territorial court Wednesday, can be imposed in cases where a key witness, who is expected to provide material evidence, is served with a subpoena to testify in court but fails to attend or give evidence.

The victim of the alleged stabbing is also the Crown’s sole witness.

Kurtis Thrasher, 34, is charged with aggravated assault in the alleged stabbing.

A preliminary inquiry – a hearing to test the strength of the Crown’s case ahead of a trial – for Thrasher was set to begin on Feb. 20, but prosecutor Blair MacPherson told the court that while the Crown had located and served the alleged victim with a subpoena, they were unable to establish travel plans for the alleged victim to testify in Yellowknife.

The alleged victim and key Crown witness is currently residing in a community outside of the capital.

Without the alleged victim’s testimony, MacPherson said the Crown’s case would be weakened and asked for time to establish travel plans for the witness to attend court in Yellowknife before going ahead with the preliminary inquiry.

Since the material witness warrant was issued last week, MacPherson tells Yellowknifer he’s unaware if the alleged victim has been arrested or not. If he is, he’ll likely be released on a recognizance and compelled to attend the preliminary hearing.

Thrasher’s preliminary hearing is now expected to commence in June.

The alleged victim, who is now the subject of an arrest warrant, was transported to an Edmonton hospital following the alleged stabbing in July.

Brendan Burke

As the Yellowknifer’s crime reporter, it’s my job to keep readers up to speed on all-things “cops and courts” related. From house fires and homicides to courtroom clashes, it’s my responsibility...

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