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Trial begins in case of naval veteran’s 2018 Saint John boardwalk death

Click to play video: 'Manslaughter trial of 2018 death is underway in Saint John' Manslaughter trial of 2018 death is underway in Saint John
WATCH: Two years after a brief encounter on the boardwalk in Saint John left one man dead, the trial of the young man accused in the death is finally underway. William Ronald Jordan is accused of manslaughter in the death of a naval veteran. Travis Fortnum has that story – Oct 20, 2020

The high-profile jury trial of a young man accused of fatally injuring a naval veteran on the Saint John boardwalk got underway Tuesday.

William Ronald Jordan, 21, stands charged with manslaughter, after an altercation between himself and 54-year-old Anthony Dwyer on July 13, 2018, resulted in a head injury that killed the latter.

On Tuesday morning, Jordan sat quietly in the courtroom as the Crown presented jurors with their opening arguments.

Read more: Preliminary hearing begins for Saint John teen charged with manslaughter in death of veteran

Crown prosecutor Jeremy Erickson painted a picture of that night for the jury, describing it as “unremarkable” up until the altercation.

Erickson told the jury it isn’t up to them to determine whether or not Jordan punched Dwyer, but whether or not that punch was an unlawful act.

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The defence argues it was out of self-defence, and that Jordan was smoking a cigar on the boardwalk by the Saint John Ale House when Dwyer approached, possibly intoxicated.

Defence attorney James McConnell said Dwyer quickly became aggressive with Jordan, jabbing him in the throat and threatening to “rip part of his body off.”

McConnell told jurors that Jordan himself will take the stand during the trial to relay his point of view and how that night has affected him.

One of the witnesses called by the Crown, the arresting officer on the night of the incident, described Jordan as cooperative and concerned for Dwyer’s well-being.

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Read more: Retired veteran mourned in home community of Petitcodiac, N.B.

The jury was shown security footage from Saint John Ale House that night.

In it they could see the punch and Dwyer’s subsequent fall, but not much else.

Day one in what’s expected to be a three-week trial saw one of the 12 jury members dismissed by Justice Darrell Stephenson. The details of that dismissal are protected by a publication ban.

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