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Defendant gives St. John's judge the finger

Justin Jordan, suspected of stabbing a man earlier this week in St. John’s, was back in provincial court in St. John’s Friday.
Justin Jordan - File photo

Justin Jordan, accused of stabbing Trent Butt in jail, wants to change his pleas to not guilty

Justin Jordan’s appearance in provincial court Wednesday morning was brief, lasting no more than 10 minutes. By the end, he had given the judge the middle finger, demanded that she not tell him what to do, had a number of sudden shouting outbursts, made gun symbols with his hands and laughed before being removed by correctional officers.

Jordan, 25, appeared in the courtroom by videolink from Her Majesty’s Penitentiary on charges of stabbing fellow inmate Trent Butt in jail last year, along with charges of assault with a weapon, assault, assaulting a correctional officer, false alarm of fire and multiple court order breaches.

Jordan’s lawyer, Jennifer Curran, told the court Jordan wanted to change his guilty pleas to not guilty. Crown prosecutor Jason House said he was opposed to the change.

“Innocent,” Jordan shouted at various times.

He shouted “guilty” at another point.

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St. John’s judge sends defendant for psychiatrist assessment

Judge Jacqueline Brazil set aside half a day on April 17 to hear Jordan’s application to change his pleas. While proceedings were underway, Jordan continued to speak, waving at the camera and standing up so his face wasn’t visible.

“You’re going to have to sit down, Mr. Jordan,” Brazil said.

“Don’t tell me to sit down! You sit down!” Jordan replied, to an audible gasp among those in the courtroom.

“I am sitting,” the judge said.

“Well, stand up!” Jordan responded.

Jordan later gave the judge the middle finger.

“You better not have done what I think you just did,” Brazil said, as Jordan laughed.

He repeated the gesture and Brazil called for correctional officers to remove him from the room. As the next case was called, a commotion was heard off-camera, through a closed door.

Curran told the court she had concerns for Jordan’s fitness for court, given his reactions.

It’s not the first time Jordan has caused concern with his behaviour. He acted similarly during a court appearance at the end of January, and was ordered to undergo an extensive psychiatric assessment. He was found fit for trial.

Jordan had originally been charged with attempting to murder Butt — who is awaiting trial for the first-degree murder of his five-year-old daughter, Quinn, later this month — but the Crown conditionally withdrew that charge after Jordan pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of aggravated assault.

Jordan reportedly stabbed Butt June 8 during recreation period at Her Majesty’s Penitentiary. Butt was not seriously injured.

“Put your hands in the air for Baby Quinn,” Jordan told members of the media at his first court appearance on that matter.

Jordan has a lengthy criminal record, including convictions for assault with a weapon, break and enter, and robbery. He was sentenced to six months in custody last spring for stabbing a man in St. John’s.

Twitter: @tara_bradbury

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