By Allan Woods
A fourth-year Ryerson business student who said he was assaulted while in police custody has returned to school, but has dropped two of his classes to spend time preparing a defence for his upcoming criminal trial.
“I can’t handle it,” said Brian Yuen, 23. “There’s a lot of reading to do and I have to take long breaks to get some composure.”
Aside from hiring a criminal lawyer to defend him on charges of assault with a weapon and assault with a dangerous weapon, Yuen is contemplating filing a civil suit and a complaint with the Human Rights Commision against police after their internal investigation is completed.
Yuen’s legal headaches began after an early-morning incident Sept. 15 at The Fuel Station, a bar frequented by Ryerson students at the corner of Gerrard Street East and Jarvis Street.
Just before 2 a.m., off-duty police Constable Chris Quesnelle was hit in the head with a beer bottle during a fight outside the bar. Bouncer Josh Cannon, a Neill-Wycik Co-operative College student, suffered injuries to his left eye when shards of glass from the bottle cut his cornea.
Police say Quesnelle’s actions are under investigation because he pulled out his Glock semi-automatic service pistol, which he shouldn’t have been carrying off-duty, to arrest Yuen.
Fourth-year civil engineering student Joey Smith, who witnessed Yuen’s arrest, said a man with a gun held Yuen on the ground until the police arrived on the scene. He said Yuen didn’t appear badly injured and wasn’t bleeding.
But hospital reports show Yuen was later admitted to St. Michael’s hospital at 3:37 a.m. and treated for a ruptured left ear drum and facial bruising.
Before being released from 51 Division on Regent Street, police said, Yuen filed a complaint alleging he was assaulted.
Yuen said he was repeatedly hit while handcuffed at the Regent Street 51 Division police station.
Detectives Brian Preston and Heidi Magill of 52 Division, who are heading the internal investigation into Yuen’s assault allegations, are also probing why Quesnelle was carrying a gun while he was off duty.
Detective Dan Sheppard of 51 Division is investigating Yuen’s two criminal charges.
Superintendent Don Mantle of 51 Division wouldn’t indicate when the week-old investigation will be finished.
Yuen’s next court date is Oct. 6.