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Former university hockey captain from Nova Scotia takes stand in Calgary case, apologizes for break-in and assault

Former Mount Royal hockey captain Matthew Brown leaves the Calgary Courts Centre. Brown is accused of attacking an MRU professor in her Springbank Hill home last year. Tuesday, November 12, 2019.
Former Mount Royal hockey captain Matthew Brown leaves the Calgary Courts Centre. Brown is accused of attacking an MRU professor in her Springbank Hill home last year. Tuesday, November 12, 2019.
CALGARY, Alta. —

Former Mount Royal University Cougars hockey captain Matthew Brown choked back tears Thursday while apologizing to the professor whose home he broke into before violently assaulting her.

But Brown told a Calgary courtroom he has no recollection of the naked attack on Janet Hamnett, nor a second break-in before he was arrested by police in the early morning of Jan. 13, 2018.

“I feel awful, I sincerely want to apologize to her and her family. No one should have to go through that and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone,” he said, his voice cracking with emotion.

Hamnett, who never crossed paths with Brown, 28, while he was a student at the southwest Calgary university where she teaches, suffered a broken hand and multiple wounds to both arms as she fended off the attack by the accused.

She said she awoke to a loud bang and before she could get to her bedroom door an intruder began repeatedly striking her with a hard object, believed to be a broken broom.

Brown faces a charge of break and enter and commit aggravated assault for the attack and a second charge of break and enter for smashing his way into another residence before he was arrested by police.

The 28-year-old is from Truro and was a forward in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League from 2007 to 2011. He was with the Moncton Wildcats for his first two and a half seasons before being traded to the Quebec Remparts on Jan. 7, 2010.

Brown spent the next season and a half with the Remparts, finishing his major junior career with 42 goals and 50 assists in 201 regular season games. He also had seven points in 34 playoff games.

Prior to enrolling at Mount Royal in the fall of 2012, Brown played one season for the Cowichan Valley Capitals in the British Columbia Hockey League. He was the captain of the Mount Royal team for three of his five seasons.

He told defence lawyer Sean Fagan he had gone to the home of a friend, Darnell Glass, for an evening of socializing.

Brown said he consumed six or seven two-ounce cups of Moscow Mules, some beers and about four grams of magic mushrooms, which were in a zip lock bag in the kitchen when he arrived at Glass’s home.

Sometime early the next morning, while a small group of five friends played beer pong in the basement, Brown said he blacked out.

“The first visible thing I remember is seeing my girlfriend’s face in the hospital,” Brown said.

“And just being in the jail cell at the police station.”

“Do you have any memory … of taking your clothes off?” Fagan asked.

“No,” Brown replied.

“Do you have any memory of breaking into Ms. Hamnett’s home?” the lawyer continued.

“No,” Brown repeated.

He said he had never met Hamnett and had no reason to have any animosity towards her.

While Hamnett was not in court, her daughter and son-in-law, Lara and Jason Unsworth, were.

“We felt it was sincere,” Lara Unsworth said of Brown’s apology.

“We really needed to hear the acknowledgement of what he did was wrong and an apology.”

Fagan will argue Brown’s magic mushroom consumption put him in a state of non-insane automatism that made him incapable of intending the consequences of his actions.

While a section of the Criminal Code prohibits such a defence for crimes of violence, Fagan successfully argued in a pretrial motion that the law violated Brown’s charter rights.

KMartin@postmedia.com

On Twitter: @KMartinCourts

Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2019

With files from Willy Palov, SaltWire Network

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