Sports: Crown says there will be no dispute about who threw the punch that knocked man down

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Garrett Johnston leaves the Saint John courthouse with his parents on Monday, the first day of his manslaughter trial. © Graham Thompson/CBC Garrett Johnston leaves the Saint John courthouse with his parents on Monday, the first day of his manslaughter trial.

There will be no dispute about who punched Mark Baker in the face outside a strip club in Saint John in 2019, according to Crown prosecutor Jeremy Erickson.

In his address to the jury on Monday afternoon, Erickson said there was no doubt that Garrett Johnston threw the punch.

Johnston, 24, is on trial for manslaughter in Baker's death.

Police found Baker injured and unconscious at the intersection of Waterloo and Union streets in Saint John at about 2:30 a.m. on Oct. 26, 2019.

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He was taken to hospital in serious condition and died the following day.

Erickson told jurors they will hear in Johnston's own words that he punched Baker once in the face.

Erickson said there was no history between the two men.

While they were both at the same strip club that night, the two had no apparent contact until after the bar closed.

In fact, the night was "quite unremarkable" up to that point, Erickson told the 14 jurors selected on Monday morning to hear the case.

Johnston was at the strip club, Club Blush, with a group of friends and they were standing around on the street after closing time.

Erickson said a video will show Baker "in amongst Garrett Johnston and his friends," before Baker walked down the block and across Union Street, "away from Garrett Johnston and his friends."

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Within moments, Johnston crossed the street and approached Baker.

"Before Mark Baker says anything to him, Garrett Johnston punches him in the face," said Erickson.

Baker fell straight backwards. He remained lying on the street, with blood pooling around his head, until a police officer arrived a short time later.

Baker was taken to hospital but died the next day.

Erickson told the jury that they will hear some of Johnston's friends testify that Johnston told them immediately after the incident that he had punched Baker in the face.

Erickson said a pathologist will testify that Baker died of blunt force trauma.

The prosecutor said a video will show a brief interaction between Johnston and Baker, and witnesses will describe what happened immediately after.

Gordon McMillan, 23, is also charged with manslaughter in the death of Mark Baker. He will be tried separately, beginning on April 20. © Roger Cosman/CBC Gordon McMillan, 23, is also charged with manslaughter in the death of Mark Baker. He will be tried separately, beginning on April 20.

The Crown is expected to begin calling evidence on Tuesday morning.

Three weeks have been set aside for the trial.

Johnston's friend, Gordon McMillan, 23, is also charged with manslaughter in Baker's death. His trial is scheduled to begin April 20.

Johnston and McMillan grew up in Rothesay and were still living there at the time of Baker's death.

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