PICTOU, N.S. — A Nova Scotia man who bit off part of a fellow mourner's nose in a drunken brawl at a wake has been sentenced to six months in jail.
Randall Edwin MacLean was drunk when he arrived at the 2014 wake for his old friend Howard Miller at a house in downtown Pictou, N.S. — but he wasn't the only one.
Judge Del Atwood said almost everyone present was inebriated — and as will happen sometimes when a group of people have had too much to drink, a disagreement turned into a heated brawl.
MacLean was convicted of aggravated assault last October.
Bite was not intentional: lawyer
His lawyer, Joel Sellers, said during a sentencing hearing in Pictou provincial court Tuesday that MacLean maintained that he did not intentionally bite Paul Gaudet's nose.
"He did express regret that the victim had suffered the injury that he did. He also noted and maintained his belief in his ultimate innocence," said Sellers in a phone interview Thursday.
Sellers had recommended a six-month jail sentence, while the Crown had asked for an 18-month term, Sellers said.
MacLean is also facing 12 months of probation, a victim surcharge of $200, a DNA collection order and a 10-year firearm prohibition.
Many people behaved badly: judge
In handing down the conviction, Atwood made it clear many people behaved badly at the wake.
MacLean had asked Gaudet's sister, Mary Jane Malloy, to "get me a drink," which caused Gaudet, who had put his head drunkenly on the kitchen table, to rouse himself in objection.
Witnesses at the trial differed on exactly what followed — Atwood blamed "the alcohol-thickened fog of this war" — but tensions apparently grew after Miller's son, Jerry, asked MacLean to stop rolling a joint.
Soon enough, several men tried to eject MacLean from the house. During a struggle, MacLean clamped his teeth on Gaudet's nose, severing the tip.
"There were plenty enough poor decisions made by many that evening and morning..."
'It was just hanging there," Malloy said, as quoted in Atwood's ruling.
MacLean told his trial he couldn't figure out why Gaudet was so angry, and he resented being asked to leave. Atwood acknowledged MacLean's behaviour did not warrant being "manhandled" as he was.
"Had he just gone with the flow and let himself get led roughly out the door, he might well have had a valid complaint of excessive-force assault,'' said Atwood. "Unfortunately, Mr. MacLean went against the flow."
The judge added: "There were plenty enough poor decisions made by many that evening and morning, and had Mr. MacLean gotten treated a little more gently, none of the bloodletting might have happened."
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