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Will Jordan manslaughter trial hears closing arguments ahead of schedule

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WATCH: Will Jordan was charged with manslaughter after throwing a punch that sent naval vet to the ground, where he hit his head and sustained fatal injuries. Travis Fortnum has the latest on Jordan’s trial, which is wrapping up more than a week early – Oct 27, 2020

Closing arguments in the trial of Will Jordan were heard Tuesday, well ahead of schedule.

Jordan, 21, stands charged with manslaughter after punching 54-year-old Anthony Dwyer on the Saint John boardwalk on July 13, 2018.

Dwyer fell because of the blow, hitting his head on the ground.

The 54-year-old died in hospital three days later as a result of his injuries and pneumonia he contracted during hospitalization.

READ MORE: ‘I was really freaked out’: Will Jordan testifies on Day 4 of trial

Although 16 days were set aside for Jordan’s jury trial, it quickly became apparent things would wrap up sooner.

The closing arguments heard on Tuesday came on day six of the trial.

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Because Jordan waived his right to silence and chose to testify, closing arguments began with defence attorney James McConnell, who put forth two legal arguments: consent and self-defence.

McConnell described the definition of consent in this context to be the reason why hockey players aren’t charged for on-ice fights and why everyone in a bar fight isn’t always charged.

Travis Fortnum / Global News

He argued that by approaching, accosting and threatening Jordan, Dwyer was instigating an altercation.

Secondly, the defence said the laws of self-defence apply to “all of us.” He stated that Jordan “striking back” is justifiable under the law as long as it meets three conditions.

As long as Jordan believed force was being used against him, that his purpose in punching was protection and that his punch was reasonable in force, he’s met the criteria for self-defence, McConnell said.

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McConnell said those three were proven throughout the trial.

Click to play video 'Trial of 21-year-old William Ronald Jordan continues on Friday' Trial of 21-year-old William Ronald Jordan continues on Friday
Trial of 21-year-old William Ronald Jordan continues on Friday – Oct 23, 2020

He reminded the jury that Jordan is presumed innocent unless proven otherwise and that the burden of proof is on the Crown to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Jordan intended serious bodily harm and wasn’t acting under consent or in self-defence.

The defence said they had not.

“Justice, in this case, will only be served if you find Will Jordan not guilty,” McConnell said.

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When Crown prosecutor Chris Ryan began closing arguments, jurors were told Dwyer may have consented to the confrontation but not what he referred to as the “hard punch” delivered by Jordan.

Ryan said the punch was harder than justified and thus unreasonable.

The Crown asked the jury not to believe Jordan’s sworn testimony that he was not acting in anger, but fear.

Ryan said Jordan was upset that his evening with friends was interrupted.

READ MORE: Retired veteran mourned in home community of Petitcodiac, N.B.

He said Dwyer’s actions only led Jordan to “be hurt, uncomfortable and winded.” It only caused him to take a couple steps back, not fall or lose balance.

In response, Ryan said, Jordan’s punch to the face knocked Dwyer to the ground, where he sustained the injuries that killed him.

After closing arguments wrapped up, Justice Darrell Stephenson dismissed the jury for the day.

When they return Wednesday at 10 a.m., they’ll be charged and sent to deliberate, sequestered until they reach a unanimous verdict.