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Crown appeals acquittal of Calgary man accused in drug-fuelled attack

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CALGARY — The Crown is appealing the acquittal of a Calgary man who court heard was delirious on magic mushrooms when he broke into a professor's house naked and assaulted her.

Earlier this month, Justice Michele Hollins found Matthew Brown not guilty of two counts of break and enter — one with commission of aggravated assault, and the other with commission of mischief.

Hollins said in her decision that the evidence supported the defence's argument that Brown was experiencing automatism and was not in control of his actions.

The Crown's notice of appeal says Hollins erred by making findings in fact in the absence of evidence and accepting expert witness evidence without foundational facts.

The trial heard the former captain of Mount Royal University's men's hockey team, who is now 29, was drinking and eating magic mushrooms at a house party in January 2018.

Court heard that Brown broke into the home of Janet Hamnett, a university professor who lived alone, and hit her with a broom handle.

The Crown is also appealing a pre-trial decision by a different Queen's Bench judge that a Criminal Code section that prohibits self-induced intoxication as a defence in violent crimes was unconstitutional.

It is asking for the acquittals to be set aside and replaced with convictions, or a new trial.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on March 17, 2020

The Canadian Press