‘I don’t recall doing it’

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Rosie Mullaley
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Jason English testifies he was too injured, dazed to remember biting off piece of man’s ear

Jason Alexander English has his handcuffs removed by a sherriff's officcer during his trial at provincial court Monday morning.

If he did bite off a piece of a man’s ear, Jason Alexander English said he can’t remember it.

“I don’t recall doing it. I can’t say it didn’t happen,” English testified Monday in his trial at provincial court.

“I didn’t intentionally try to hurt anybody. … I was pretty shocked when I was accused of doing it.”

English told the court he didn’t even see the man he’s accused of assaulting, since his eyes were closed, full of blood and watering from just having his nose broken.

“I never saw anything after I was hit,” English said.

On the eighth day of the trial, the 30-year-old told his side of the story about what happened in the early hours of May 23 at Spin nightclub in downtown St. John’s.

English is accused of headbutting one man before fighting with a second man and biting off a piece of his ear. He’s also accused of threatening to further harm the men.

The man with the ear injury, who worked at the club as a bartender, was treated at hospital with stitches and had a skin graft to repair some of the damage. His ear is still slightly deformed, with the top part missing.

English is charged with aggravated assault, assault, two counts of uttering threats and breaching a conditional sentence by failing to keep the peace and be of good behaviour.

In English’s much-anticipated testimony, he admitted he stepped in when a man, who he didn’t recognize, grabbed his girlfriend and was trying to escort her out of the club.

“I saw in her face she was in distress. … I said to the guy, ‘What the f--k are you doing? Let her go,” said English, who said the man didn’t respond.

Instead, English added, the man grabbed his arm and reached around with his other arm, “So, I turned and gave him a push (against the wall).”

Just seconds later, he said, a second man came from behind him and hit him twice in the head.

“I was sucker punched right in the side of my nose,” he said, showing the judge the right side of his face.

“He broke my nose and my eyes closed and starting filling up with water … He rang my bell, no doubt about it.”

With his eyes closed, English said he made a back swing at the second man in an effort to get him away. The two men were then holding on to each other.

He doesn’t recall the man saying anything to him. He also doesn’t remember where they ended up in the club during the altercation or whether or not they fell to the floor.

As he let go of the man, English said someone hit him over the head with what felt like a sharp object.

“I was in pain,” he testified. “I couldn’t see nothing … If I wasn’t as big and strong as I am, I definitely would’ve been on the ground.”

That’s when he said his girlfriend led him to the female bathroom to clean up the blood.

“I was saturated with blood … I saw myself in the mirror. I felt like I was going to faint. I was pretty dazed.”

He wasn’t sure how long they stayed in the bathroom — “could’ve been two minutes to 20 minutes.”

“He broke my nose and my eyes closed and starting filling up with water … He rang my bell, no doubt about it.” Jason English

He said he and his girlfriend then left the bar together.

He denies headbutting the first man and hitting the second man. He also said he didn’t threaten anyone.

After they left the club, he said he got in his girlfriend’s friend’s car and they drove off.

He said the next day his face and nose were swollen and his eye was starting to turn black.

When defence lawyer Mike King asked English why he didn’t go to the hospital, he replied, “It’s a guy thing. I said I was fine.”

However, on cross-examination, Crown prosecutor Kathleen O’Reilly presented a digital photo, taken at the St. John’s lockup the night English was arrested, which was less than 24 hours after the incident.

“Do you agree there’s no visible signs of bruising?” she asked.

“The bruising started right there,” he replied, pointing to the picture, “and it got darker after that.”

“There’s no indication of swelling in this picture,” O’Reilly added.

“Well, I could feel it,” he said.

“There’s no cuts,” she added.

“You can kind of see where it starts here,” he said, pointing again to the photo.

O’Reilly also asked him about the piece of ear, which a coat-check girl testified she found in the toilet of the women’s bathroom, where English had just been. She took a picture of it before flushing it.

But English said he knew nothing about it.

“I saw the picture of it. I don’t believe that was (the piece of his) ear,” he said.

“It’s possible, I guess, but it wasn’t me. It must’ve been someone else.

“After speaking to my girlfriend, she told me there was no piece of ear in my mouth when I went in the bathroom.”

English also said he worked at the club regularly on weekends for six months.

But O’Reilly pointed out none of the other staff who testified, including the manager, knew that.

“Some staff knew I worked there,  for sure,” English said.

“Were you a secret undercover bouncer?” O’Reilly asked.

“No, I wasn’t,” English said.

O’Reilly suggested to him that he was at the club that night because it was one of the places he could hang out undetected.

“That would be a lie,” English said.

“I’m going to suggest to you,” O’Reilly continued, “that you were upset because something happened with your girlfriend, you lost control and you were in a rage.”

“No, I wasn’t,” he replied.

King opted not to ask any questions on redirect, but co-counsel Bill Collins told Judge Lois Skanes that when the trial resumes Thursday, they may present pictures that better depict English’s injuries after the incident.

Lawyers are also expected to make closing arguments Thursday.

rgillingham@thetelegram.com

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