NEWS
10/24/2011 02:29 EDT | Updated 12/24/2011 05:12 EST

Plastic surgeon who treated alleged torture victim details new injuries

CALGARY - A plastic surgeon testified Monday that a man who was allegedly tortured and starved by his former roommate suffered facial trauma, broken bones and internal damage over a period of months.

Dr. David McKenzie said he began treating the man in September 2009 when he was admitted to hospital with a crushed eye socket. The patient said a refrigerator had fallen on him at work.

But the doctor said X-rays showed the patient also had several older injuries. There had been multiple breaks of the man's ribs, breaks in his vertebrae and lacerations to his spleen, liver and small intestine. There were fractures to both cheeks and cauliflower ear, which is a thickening of the cartilage.

"Typically to have both ears injured I would generally associate with repeated trauma," said McKenzie.

"That type of injury would be blunt force."

McKenzie was testifying at the trial of Dustin Paxton, 31, who is charged with aggravated assault, forcible confinement and sexual assault.

The Crown alleges Paxton brutalized his former roommate over a period of years before dropping him off — battered, bruised and severely malnourished — at a Regina hospital in April 2010. The roommate, who just turned 28, can't be named because of a court-ordered publication ban. Paxton has pleaded not guilty.

McKenzie said the man continued to suffer injuries as time passed.

"When he came back later on he had elements of new injuries to both cheekbones. There was evidence there were repeat breaks."

Most troubling of all, said McKenzie, was when the man sought treatment from another doctor around Christmas 2009.

"He came back with much of his lip missing," said McKenzie, who saw him a week later.

"What I saw was most of the lower red portion of the lip, about two-thirds, was missing. He was having trouble opening his mouth and keeping food in his mouth."

The alleged victim is scheduled to testify next week for three days.

The Crown has called close to 50 witnesses. There is no word on whether the defence will call Paxton to the stand.

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