A judge has declared a mistrial in the case of a Kamloops mixed martial-arts fighter accused of domestic assault.
Matthew Baker, 35, is facing four counts of assault and one count each of uttering threats and mischief. The allegations date back as far as 2017.
Baker’s trial began in September 2019. He was represented by defence lawyer Don Campbell, who died in a skydiving accident on Sept. 28, 2019, before the trial had concluded.
Kamloops provincial court Judge Stella Frame declared the mistrial after Sheldon Tate, Baker’s new lawyer, argued there was no way he could proceed without having been present for the first days of the trial, given the case is a he-said, she-said matter.
Frame called it a case “entirely rooted in credibility” of Baker and the complainant.
“These are gravely unfortunate, but also unique circumstances,” she said. “Despite the challenges doing so will present, I find that Mr. Baker can only be afforded a fair trial if I declare this one to be a mistrial.”
Baker, known in MMA circles by his “Riotmaker” nickname, stands six-foot-one and fights at a weight of 185 pounds, according to MMA website sherdog.com. He has a record of 14 wins and 10 losses. His last action was a loss in April 2018 on a Brave Combat Federation card in Brazil.
Lawyers are slated to return to court on June 23 to set a new trial date for Baker.