Nova Scotia

Halifax Alehouse security ‘acted reasonably’ in alleged assault, court documents say

A downtown Halifax bar facing several allegations of bouncer misconduct is arguing a man suing the business was trespassing on the property at the time of an incident where the man alleges he was punched and strangled by security guards, according to court documents.

In a lawsuit, plaintiff Addisiane Freeland says he suffered serious injuries, including a fractured hyoid bone in his neck and a concussion, as a result of the alleged assault by Halifax Alehouse bouncers on Aug. 14, 2022.

Freeland saw his friends sitting on the Alehouse’s patio and joined them at their table, the lawsuit says. He alleges he was suddenly attacked after the bouncers told him to leave.

In its statement of defence, the Alehouse denies all allegations made in the lawsuit.

The notice, filed in March, says staff “acted reasonably” during the incident involving the plaintiff.

The bar alleges Freeland provoked staff, assaulted staff after being asked to leave and “proceeded in a manner that endangered his own safety.”

Video posted to social media

A few days after the incident, a video of an altercation at the Alehouse was posted on the social media website Reddit by a person who identified themselves as the girlfriend of the man in the video. The post contains the same accusations in the lawsuit.

The video doesn’t capture the start of the altercation and begins after the man is on the ground under several bouncers.

The man isn’t moving and is pinned to the ground under several people. At one point of the video, one of the bouncers is seen hitting the man with punches.

More allegations against bouncers

The Halifax Alehouse has been charged with two liquor control act infractions by the province as part of a broader investigation into several incidents last year involving the bar and its staff.

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The investigation was triggered after Nova Scotia Alcohol, Gaming, Tobacco and Fuel was notified by Halifax Regional Police of a death outside the bar in the early hours of Christmas Eve. 

Ryan Sawyer, 34, was found unresponsive on the street outside the Alehouse after police were called about an altercation.

A witness told CBC News that before police arrived a security guard had Sawyer in a headlock “and just wouldn’t let go.”

Ryan Sawyer sits at his parents house in Fall River, N.S., with the family dog. Sawyer died Dec. 24, 2022, after being found unresponsive outside the Halifax Alehouse. (Submitted by Scott and Lee Sawyer)

Halifax Regional Police say their investigation is ongoing. No charges have been laid.

The Alcohol, Gaming, Tobacco and Fuel investigation has been completed and the matter is expected to go to a hearing in front of Nova Scotia’s Utility and Review Board sometime this year.

In October, two Alehouse bouncers were charged with an assault in relation to a separate incident, in which a 21-year old man said he was attacked outside the bar.

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