A violent twist on a house party prank left a Kelowna teen suffering from second and third degree burns and two fellow partygoers charged with aggravated assault.
The 18-year-old man had fallen asleep on the kitchen floor in the early morning hours of Dec. 8 when one man poured liquid on his back and lit him on fire, according to Kelowna RCMP.
Another man stood by and filmed the incident.
Kelowna residents Matthew Sweet-Grant, 20, and Joshua McWhirter, 18, were arrested and charged with aggravated assault.
Police believe this isn’t the first time the accused has lit someone incapacitated by drugs or alcohol on fire, Const. Kris Clark said. It’s unclear how many times the accused has allegedly lit someone on fire, how severe the injuries were or whether any alleged previous incidents were filmed.
“Fire is inherently dangerous and unpredictable,” Clark said. “Even if it’s intended to be a prank, it’s not a prank.”
The victim remains in hospital recovering from severe burns to most of his back. The incident occurred at the residence of one of the accused.
Police don’t know whether the video of the assault was posted online, but said the man videotaping is charged as a party to the offence.
“It was allowing an offence to continue when the right thing to do is say, ‘Hey, we shouldn’t do this,’” Clark said.
Filming the crime mimics the “Jackass culture,” social media specialist Dave Teixeira said.
“You see on the show these guys hurting themselves, but they also set the other cast members up to be hurt,” Teixeira said. “People see this as entertainment that needs to be shared, when really it’s not.”
Even if the video wasn’t posted online, the incident reminded Teixeira of the gang rape in Pitt Meadows.
“All it takes is one person to start forwarding it out and then there it is for the rest of time online,” he said. “Especially kids don’t understand what permanent means.”
Sweet-Grant and McWhirter remained in custody and appeared in court Thursday.