New Brunswick Tribune

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Surveillance video from a Saint John strip joint shown to the jury in a manslaughter case

Key takeaways:

  • In a manslaughter case in Saint John, the jury examined security footage from inside and outside an uptown strip joint.
  • The jury heard from the emergency physician who treated Baker in the early hours of Oct. 26, 2019.

On Wednesday afternoon, the jury in a manslaughter case in Saint John watched security videos inside and outside an uptown strip club.

The tapes show both guys inside the strip joint, but it’s unclear how many contacts they had in the trial.

Baker, 59, can be seen bouncing around the bar and dancing. He doesn’t appear to be with anyone, although he briefly converses with several customers and scantily clad female employees. He also doesn’t stay in one location for long periods, including sitting near numerous exotic dancers’ stages.

After the bar closed, the final footage from that night depicts what transpired outside the entrance. It shows Baker entering and exiting the picture.

Meanwhile, Johnston is dressed in a black Harley-Davidson sweatshirt and a black ball hat with a white Harley-Davidson emblem. Johnston is surrounded by his buddies, one of them being co-accused Gordon MacMillan. Both are in the frame for most of the video.

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Baker is seen leaning against the building for a few moments, talking to a woman before walking north on Sydney Street, toward Union Street, and out of the picture.

Following his passing, Johnston and his pals head in that way, but it’s unknown whether any words were exchanged because the film lacks audio.

One of Johnston’s buddies makes a hand signal in that way, and Johnston quickly exits the picture in the same direction as Baker.

His companions are just behind him. Some return a little later, and Johnston reappears on the screen after around two minutes, making a punching motion with his hand.

For several minutes, the group remains in focus, facing north along Sydney Street. They frequently vanish around a corner but occasionally emerge to peer in Baker’s direction.

A police officer eventually comes and speaks briefly with the group.

The 14-member jury learned during the first two days of the trial that Johnston approached Baker on the sidewalk at the intersection of Waterloo and Union streets and hit him in the face before Baker could say anything.

Jury in manslaughter trial sees surveillance video from Saint John strip  club

Baker hit his head on the sidewalk after falling backwards.

Baker was discovered motionless on the ground by a Saint John police officer who happened to be driving by at the time. Const. Tammy Spence testified that no one was approaching Baker at the time, despite the presence of roughly 20 people loitering around the Club Blush entrance.

On Wednesday, the jury heard from the emergency physician who treated Baker in the early hours of Oct. 26, 2019.

Baker had a slim chance of surviving his head injury, according to Dr Paul Vanhoutte.

Baker wasn’t breathing on his own when he arrived at Saint John Regional Hospital just before 3 a.m., and he didn’t respond to simple reflex tests.

His blood pressure and heart rate were expected, but he failed a neurological evaluation that included basic reflexes. When the doctor shone a light into one of Baker’s eyes, for example, the pupil in another should have reacted as well. Instead, it didn’t work out. When the bottom of a person’s foot is scraped, the toes usually move as well. Baker’s, on the other hand, did not.

According to the results of the tests, Vanhoutte believes Baker’s chances of recovery are little to none.

“He had no brain reaction at all,” Vanhoutte stated.

He told the jury that Baker’s injuries were consistent with getting a blow to the mouth, falling backwards, and hurting the back of his skull.

In Baker’s death, MacMillan, 23, is also charged with manslaughter. In April, he will face a separate trial.

Source:  CBC

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