Two former Kamloops Broncos football players working as bouncers two years ago were acquitted Wednesday of assault causing bodily harm.
The finding of not guilty by provincial court judge Chris Cleaveley came despite evidence from the two accused men - Darcy MacDonald and Cory Lien - the judge called "improbable, illogical and, in part, contrived."
The pair was represented by defence lawyer Rob Bruneau.
The complainant was Brock Ross, a drunken customer in the Duchess bar in the early morning hours of April 2, 2011.
Ross's injuries included a broken finger, concussion and a broken jaw that required reconstructive surgery. He reported that he was off work for two months and lost 40 pounds after his jaw was wired shut.
Cleaveley ruled that while the Crown theory that the two bouncers chased Ross down and beat him after an incident outside the Duchess's front doors makes sense, "the foundation of that theory is questionable and not capable of sustaining a criminal conviction."
Two versions of events were told in court, according to differing accounts from Ross and the two bouncers.
In Ross's version, he testified that he arrived at the North Kamloops bar after drinking three to four beers at a friend's house. Once inside he consumed three to five more.
After he went to a smoking pit, a Duchess staffer asked Ross to leave and escorted him out. But Ross testified he was not given an explanation and also was stranded because his jacket was in the coat check and he had no money.
He tried to re-enter through the front door when the same staffer grabbed him and began leading him outside.
"As they approached the front doors, two more bouncers joined in, and together, they threw Mr. Ross out the front door," Cleaveley said.
Ross fell into a crowd-control railing, breaking it. He then picked up a railing and wielded it like a "baseball bat."
But Ross testified that in a sober moment he decided to drop the railing and run. He was pursued.
After being caught, Ross said Lien grabbed the back of his head and brought his knee up to his chin, splitting his jaw in three places.
In the other version, MacDonald, the other bouncer on trial, testified that Ross grabbed his radio earpiece and ran after he was tossed outside the bar. He chased Ross in order to retrieve it and MacDonald followed. The pair testified Ross tripped while running and landed face down on the street.
But Cleaveley said Ross was unsure who first removed him from the bar and was inconsistent as to who beat him. The judge added he "was not impressed with Mr. Ross as a witness.
"He was rude and obnoxious. More importantly, some of his answers to questions were not responsive."
Cleaveley was also critical of the Duchess for taping over potential video evidence from the evening four days later.
Both MacDonald and Lien played for the Broncos in 2010. They no longer play for the team.