Will Jordan took the stand himself Friday as the first week in his manslaughter trial came to a close.
Jordan told the jury he chose to testify.
“I wanted to share my side of things,” he said.
Jordan served as the first witness in the defence’s case, following the Crown’s final witness – a forensic pathologist.
Dr. Ken Obenson, who’s been in the role at Saint John Regional Hospital since 2003, described the autopsy process and extent of 54-year-old Anthony Dwyer’s injuries for the court.
In Obenson’s expert opinion, Dwyer’s death was the direct result of pneumonia contracted while hospitalized – the underlying cause being the blunt force trauma from his head hitting the concrete that night.
The doctor testified that the physical chain of events leading to Dwyer’s death that night began with the punch.
Dwyer’s date of death is documented as July 16, 2018 – three days after the incident.
A statement of facts read into the record Thursday stated Dwyer did not regain consciousness or show any improvement throughout those three days – declared brain-dead.
Another stated that blood drawn from Dwyer upon his hospitalization never underwent toxicology testing.
The defence questioned Obenson on whether that’s normal, which he said was not.
By the time of the autopsy, Obenson stated it would be too late because of drugs administered in hospital.
Obenson further testified that Dwyer’s liver had fatty change consistent with someone who consumed excessive alcohol regularly for an extended period.
Prior Crown witnesses testified that Dwyer appeared intoxicated as he interacted with Jordan.
In Jordan’s testimony Friday, he stated he had never punched anyone before that night.
He said he went to the boardwalk to see Saint John band Subtle perform – and when the performance was late starting, he, Sam Mallett and Jack Rabb went looking for a drink.
He said he was “feeling good, feeling happy.”
Jordan told the court the group was approached by an acquaintance of his, Isaac Mason, who gave him a half-smoked cigar.
He said he thought Mason had a neck brace on – a detail also stated in Mallett’s testimony.
Jordan said this is when Dwyer came in.
He said they didn’t notice him approaching.
“He kind of came up from behind us,” he said.
He said Dwyer asked where he got the cigar. In response, Jordan said he gestured towards Mason.
According to Jordan, Dwyer then said, “I gave it to him, I didn’t give it to you.”
He said he initially thought the situation was “kind of comical,” that he thought Dwyer was “just kinda messing with” him.
Jordan said Dwyer then pushed him in the throat with his finger, uttering an explicit threat to “rip” part of his body off.
“I was just really scared,” Jordan said. “I was really freaked out.”
“I didn’t know what was going to happen next.
“That’s when I would have hit him.”
He told the court he didn’t think there was any other way out of the situation.
“It all happened so fast,” he said.
Jordan said Dwyer then fell over.
When asked by the defence if he intended to cause serious bodily harm when he punched, Jordan said no.
When cross-examined by the Crown, Jordan was asked to walk through security footage of the incident from the Saint John Ale House patio.
Following his testimony, the defence called Nick Bynkoski to the stand.
Bynkoski was working as a bouncer at McGill’s on the Saint John boardwalk that night.
He described seeing the scuffle, then going to track Jordan down – but said Jordan came to him before he had to.
Bynkoski said Jordan looked scared and lost.
“Like he didn’t know what just happened,” he said.
After Bynkoski’s testimony, the jury was dismissed for the weekend.
Closing arguments from both the Crown and defence are expected Tuesday.
The jury will be charged Wednesday – sequestered until a verdict is reached.