Bartender testifies at Ryan Taylor trial

Bartender testifies at Ryan Taylor trial

Ryan Taylor is on trial for second-degree murder in the death of Thomas “TJ” McIntyre.

He died on September 27, 2020, five days after being involved in a fight with Taylor.

The jury has learned the moments prior to the altercation, through the testimony of bartender Ashley Lavin.

Surveillance video presented

Deputy Crown attorney Andrew Telford-Keogh showed 15 minutes of surveillance video from inside and outside the Seminole Street bar where Lavin was working on Sept. 23.

Over the course of about 15 minutes, the jury saw Taylor sitting at the bar talking to other customers.

Lavin said Taylor asked a customer to listen to a rap song on his phone, when the man approached Taylor, grabbed him by the collar of his shirt, lifted him off his stool and pushed him to the ground.

Lavín said he yelled at the group to stop.

“If this continues, everyone will be asked to leave,” he testified, shouting at the men.

The altercation ended with all customers returning to their seats.

McIntyre came in a few minutes later and did not appear to speak to Taylor.

Taylor told Lavin he wanted to press charges against the man who grabbed him.

Lavín advised him that if he was really worried he should leave the bar and go home.

Taylor was worried about being ‘assaulted’

Lavin testified that Taylor was worried about being attacked by McIntyre and his group of friends.

He offered to walk Taylor out of the bar if he was worried.

Once outside, he gave McIntyre a cigarette and told him to start walking home.

“He said he was afraid,” Lavín said. “He just wanted to leave.”

Not long after Taylor left the camera angle, McIntyre left the bar. He also walked in Taylor’s direction.

Lavin testified that he then opened the bar door and yelled at a customer who was at the bar: “TJ is going after Ryan.”

A group of men were then seen leaving the bar and exiting the video.

The beginning of a fight

Lavin told the jury he could see Taylor and McIntyre “going back and forth” with each other on Seminole Street, near George Street.

She told the jury she did not see the actual fight between the two men, which the jury learned occurred further up the street at the Tourangeau Road intersection.

Defense notes discrepancies

During cross-examination, defense attorney Michael Gordoner had Lavin admit that she was friends with McIntyre and is still friends with those who were at the bar that night.

She told the jury that Taylor was a new customer at the bar.

Lavin also admitted that he had conversations about the incident with the other witnesses to the fight inside the bar, but stopped when the Crown prosecutor’s office told him so shortly after McIntyre’s death.

Upon reviewing the surveillance video, Lavín agreed that the situation inside the bar would have been tense.

Gordoner noted in his first interview with police that he never mentioned that Taylor wanted to press charges against the man who grabbed him and threw him to the ground. Lavin only told police that Taylor wanted to call the police because he felt unsafe in general.

Lavín’s statement will continue on Friday.