Edmonton assailant who bit off victim’s nose could be facing jail time

A judge must decide whether an Edmonton “cannibalist” who bit off a chunk of another man’s nose in a bizarre attack at a city bar should be put behind bars.

EDMONTON — A judge must decide whether an Edmonton “cannibalist” who bit off a chunk of another man’s nose in a bizarre attack at a city bar should be put behind bars.

Crown prosecutor Ian MacKenzie argued Wednesday that Zack Morrison should get a prison term of between 24 and 30 months, while defence lawyer Kevin Gubbins suggested a conditional sentence to be served in the community.

Morrison, 23, pleaded guilty on Jan. 19 to aggravated assault for the Oct. 8, 2006, biting at Bar Wild following a confrontation with Aaron Helferty of North Bay, Ont.

Helferty, 33, who had come to Alberta to work as an apprentice electrician, says the attack came after he was confronted by a group of men who were mocking him.

However, Morrison — despite admitting in court that he was the aggressor in the assault — told a psychologist that he panicked when Helferty grabbed him by the throat.

“The cannibalist in me came out, I bit his nose — it was really frightening for me,” said Morrison, according to a forensic assessment.

The missing chunk of nose was never recovered. Witnesses never saw him spit it out and cleaning staff never found it.

Bar staff believe Morrison swallowed it.

MacKenzie noted Morrison had been on probation at the time stemming from a 2004 assault in a Calgary bar where he broke a bottle of beer over a man’s head.

Just before the judge reserved his decision on sentencing until next week, Morrison stood and apologized.

“I regret that night every day of my life,” he said. “It makes me sick to think about it.”

Helferty said last year his nose looks almost as good as new after three reconstructive surgeries.

“Nobody pulls back in horror when they see it, so that’s a good sign,” Helferty joked.

“If it doesn’t fall off in two years, it’s certainly better than Michael Jackson’s.”

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