It’s true that elderly people can hit younger people. Smaller people may assault bigger people. And women sometimes hit men.
But there are older people, smaller people, and women — and then there’s Concetta Mazzulli.
And as B.C. provincial court Judge Parker MacCarthy considered assault charges against the 79-year-old Duncan woman, he wondered if this tiny, “pre-octogenarian” Italian-Canadian landlady was really capable of delivering two high kicks to the buttocks of a man more than twice her size.
MacCarthy said he didn’t want to give in to “stereotypical thinking,” but….
“It is still incomprehensible to me that this elderly, five-foot two lady, who had undergone a series of serious back surgeries in the past few years, could actually lift her leg high enough and kick the complainant in the manner and in the location he describes, not once, but twice,” MacCarthy wrote in his decision to acquit.
‘Without any corroborating evidence’
The Vancouver Island judge delivered his verdict a few days before Christmas after a two-day trial that saw Mazzulli and complainant Richard Genereaux give wildly different versions of a heated confrontation in October 2018.
The 51-year-old man, who weighs about 250 pounds, accused Mazzulli of using her Jeep as a weapon to drive over his toe, yanking his shorts hard enough to cut into his genitals as he stood pinned by the vehicle, delivering the two kicks to his lower back and then pursuing him as he dragged himself away and punching him “about four times.”
MacCarthy was left with questions about the decision to prosecute a woman with no prior criminal record, a 60-year-long marriage and a total of one speeding ticket in eight decades.
“I was left wondering overall about the extent of the police investigation that has given rise to the charges in this matter.” the judge wrote.
“[It] seems to have proceeded almost entirely on the statements of [Genereaux and his former partner] and without any corroborating evidence.”
‘She was indeed smaller’
According to the decision, Genereaux, a commercial painter who receives disability payments, began renting Mazzulli’s property — a house and a yard with a circular gravel driveway — in 2016.
The source of their conflict was clutter surrounding the home: vehicles, utility trailers and a giant disposal bin that has sat on the property for a number of months. Mazzulli threatened to evict Genereaux in August 2018 after making several verbal and written demands.
Things came to a head on Aug. 1, 2018.
In Genereaux’s version, Mazzulli started it.
The judge wrote that Genereaux denied calling her “an extremely vulgar slang word referring to the female genitalia, sometimes euphemistically described as ‘the C word’. Although he conceded that he did call her “a name associated with a female dog.”
“Notwithstanding his evidence that he was five-foot seven-inches tall and weighed 250 pounds, he stated that her did not know if the accused was smaller than he was,” MacCarthy wrote.
“It appeared to the court to be very obvious that she was indeed smaller.”
‘Ran like a sputnik’
Genereaux claimed Mazzulli revved the Jeep’s engine and said “Move out of the F-ing way, or I’ll F-ing run you over.”
He claimed the Jeep “lunged” forward onto the big toe of his left foot and that after getting out of the vehicle and yanking on his shorts, Mazzulli “proceeded to kick him twice, above the area of his buttocks, in the small of his back while he was somewhat upright.”
There were no medical records of any broken bones, and emergency room physicians didn’t see any evidence of bruising. Genereaux claimed that the bruising and swelling only showed up later.
Mazzulli has undergone three “significant back operations” to have titanium medical devices placed in her lower back due to issues she attributes to “years of hard work.”
She denied every driving over Genereaux’s foot but said that she did lift up the leg of his shorts to see whether her was actually pinned under the Jeep.
She claimed Genereaux had a “melt down” that saw him scream incomprehensibly, cry and call her names. She did admit to swearing back at him after the verbal exchange with the salty language.
But Mazzulli said that she tried to pull away and Genereaux “ran like a sputnik” toward the front of her vehicle and started yelling that he was hurt.
She claimed that at no point did his foot ever get pinned. And she’s neither crouching tiger, nor hidden dragon.
“[She firmly denies that she kicked the complainant in the back while his foot was pinned under the vehicle’s tire.”
The judge found that Genereaux “did not present particularly well as a witness” while he found Mazzulli to be “forthright, reliable and credible.”
“Generally,” the judge wrote. “I find the narrative of facts presented by the accused to be a much more likely scenario to what actually happened.”