|Lorne Bragg was hurt while escorting prisoner Christopher Alexander from Calgary to Toronto. Dave Thomas/QMI Agency
TORONTO - A suspect head-butted a Toronto detective in the face and terrorized him as they flew on a police aircraft from Calgary to Toronto, a Superior Court heard Wednesday.
Christopher Alexander -- who was wanted on a Canada-wide warrant after being accused of opening fire on a security guard inside Fairview Mall in September 2010 over a bottle of stolen cologne -- was nabbed in Alberta in February 2011.
Alexander is on trial for assaulting Det. Lorne Bragg and Det. Const. Sajeev Nair by head-butting Bragg and spitting on Nair. The officers were escorting Alexander on a small RCMP plane headed to Toronto to face attempted murder and other charges here.
“It was terrifying to be with such a violent person in such a small, confined space,” Bragg told Mr. Justice Gary Trotter in the judge-alone trial. “I was quite concerned for my safety.”
Alexander, who stands 6-foot and weighs a muscular 200 lb., was strong and a threat to overpower the officers, Bragg said.
The head-butt bruised Bragg’s face.
“A few days later, I got raccoon eyes,” said Bragg, 58, who has been with Toronto Police for 16 years.
Alexander, 28, has pleaded not guilty to two counts of assaulting peace officers and one count of public mischief for damaging the RCMP aircraft.
Alexander created such a commotion with his loud, disruptive behaviour at the Calgary airport that the commercial airline refused him admission on their flight.
A seven-seat police aircraft transported Alexander, Bragg and Nair to Toronto.
While in the holding cell at the Calgary airport, Alexander yanked a bolted stool from the floor and used it as a battering ram against the door, court heard.
Alexander was handcuffed, belly-chained and shackled in his plane seat when he spat at Nair, Bragg testified.
Rushing behind Alexander, Bragg tossed a spit-mask over the prisoner’s head. Then, Alexander thrust his head backwards, smashing into Bragg’s face. Both officers then punched Alexander and a 50-foot extension cord was wrapped around his neck to further subdue him.
Defence counsel Magda Wyszomierska is arguing that her client was subjected to excessive force and cruel and unusual punishment in the airplane so his charges should be stayed. Alexander is innocent of the assault charges because the Crown has failed to prove that he intended to inflict harm, Wyszomierska argued.
Alexander was also denied his rights to counsel and suffered from overly-tight handcuffs in the airport, she added.
Alexander is scheduled to face charges of attempted murder of a security guard in September.