St. John's ear biter gets 8 months
A man convicted of biting off the top of a bartender's ear in a violent brawl in downtown St. John's has been given a jail sentence, though he has already served almost all of it.
Jason English was given an eight-month sentence Friday in provincial court in St. John's for an aggravated assault conviction.
English, who is already a convicted drug dealer, was given 223 days of credit because he has been in custody since July.
Judge Lois Skanes had found English, 31, guilty in November of using excessive force while defending himself when a fight broke out in May at a nightclub called Spin on George Street, the popular strip of bars in downtown St. John's.
Bartender Ches Bursey had testified that he saw English react aggressively when English's girlfriend was being escorted from the bar. During a subsequent conflict, English bit off the top of Bursey's left ear.
English, though he had been on house arrest, had been working that night at a nightclub on another floor of the same building. English had been given permission to work there.
The court was told that Bursey had punched English during the dispute.
Skanes noted that English was "not the aggressor and was working," which constituted mitigating factors in her decision.
"Mr. English was … stepping in to help a patron, his girlfriend," Skanes told the court.
Bursey has had plastic surgery on his ear, though damage is still evident. "I'm mutilated for life," Bursey testified in October.
"The injury, while disfiguring, does not impede bodily function," Skanes said.
English, whose lawyer had made a self-defence argument at trial, was found not guilty on charges of uttering threats and assault against another person.
Skanes, however, determined that English went too far in defending himself.
English was also convicted of breaching conditions imposed following a prior conviction on trafficking charges, and of failing to keep the peace.
Skanes told English he will be on probation for two years following his release from jail.