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Bike-shop owner back in court on assault charges

Igor Kenk's bike shop at 927 Queen St. West in Toronto.

Fred Lum/Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

Igor Kenk, the alleged thief whose massive stash of old bicycles shocked Toronto last summer, was back in court Wednesday to face his accusers in a related assault case.

Sporting long hair and a wavy beard suggestive of biblical times, Mr. Kenk, 50, pleaded not guilty to assault, assault with a weapon and possession of a weapon. The charges were laid after an incident last December in a back-alley garage on Dufferin Street, one of more than a dozen Mr. Kenk had rented throughout the west end to store assorted salvage items and bicycles acquired through his bike repair shop on Queen Street West.

Mr. Kenk, who was on bail on still-unresolved counts related to stolen bicycles and drugs police found in the garages, allegedly got into an altercation with the owners of the Dufferin Street garage when he returned last Dec. 14 to retrieve items. He is accused of wielding a piece of plumbing pipe. No one was injured.

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The fresh charges meant the end of bail, and Mr. Kenk was held in the Don Jail to await trial. It started in glacial fashion yesterday as Tanveer Abbas, one of three complainants, took the stand.

Speaking through in interpreter in Urdu and then Punjabi, Mr. Abbas, 32, gave at-times confusing answers to questions that often had to be rephrased by Judge Melvyn Green.

Mr. Abbas told court that he and his family knew about Mr. Kenk's garage lease when they took possession of the house in June, 2008, but that it was to expire at the end of the year. Then, that July 28, police raided the garage and removed dozens of bicycles and three kilograms of marijuana. Mr. Abbas testified that police told him he could then use the garage, and advised him that if Mr. Kenk returned, he could buy out the remainder of his lease or extend it.

On the day of the incident, Mr. Abbas said, his father and uncle were in the garage smoking a sheesha , or water pipe, when Mr. Kenk entered and began removing boxes. When Mr. Abbas went to investigate, Mr. Kenk uttered "filthy abuses" and held a piece of old plumbing pipe bent in an L-shape in two places in a menacing manner, he said.

"If I had not stepped back at that time, I'm sure 100 per cent he would have hit me," Mr. Abbas told court.

As Mr. Kenk was led from the courtroom in handcuffs at day's end, he offered a blunt perspective on the incident: "It's my garage. It's my stuff."

The trial is expected to take four more days.

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