Max Evans trial: Star weeps as he recalls brother’s horrific injury

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SCOTLAND rugby star Max Evans broke down in tears as he told a court about the life-threatening injury suffered by his younger brother during a match against Wales two years ago.

Evans, who is facing a charge of glassing a man in a nightclub, became distressed during questioning by his lawyer about the injury suffered by Thom in the Six Nations match in Cardiff.

He found himself unable to speak, and tried to compose himself to continue, but Sheriff Elizabeth Jarvie, QC, called an adjournment. As the sheriff left the bench, Evans slumped in the witness box and wept audibly.

The court reconvened a short time later, and defence counsel Kevin McCallum apologised if he had caused any upset and assured Evans no-one would hold it against him for becoming emotional in the circumstances.

Evans, 28, is accused at Edinburgh Sheriff Court of assaulting Alasdair McCaig, 29, a property developer, to his severe injury and permanent impairment at Lulu nightclub, George Street, Edinburgh, on 1 August, 2010. An allegation the injury caused permanent disfigurement has been deleted. He pleads self-defence.

Evans yesterday agreed he and his brother had attracted widespread media attention and that they had become public figures. They had posed together for a rugby calendar and it had attracted publicity, he said.

His brother had had to give up rugby after breaking his neck in the match against Wales.

Evans said that he felt privileged and honoured to play for his country. “Generally, people are very supportive and complimentary. It is very rare someone is negative, but it has happened,” Evans told the jury.

In the nightclub, he was “merry” through drink but knew what was happening. He was in a VIP lounge drinking champagne with a woman, Sarah Jane Bell, when someone called out: “Evans, what are you doing in Edinburgh? F*** off back to Glasgow.”

He said: “It could have been a friend just being an idiot and I turned to see who was talking to me. I did not recognise the gentleman and I just ignored it.”

Over the next 20 minutes, the man chipped in with insulting comments, such as calling Evans and his brother faggots. Evans continued to ignore him, he said. Ms Bell took his hand to lead him out of the lounge.

“He said ‘Sorry about tonight, mate. Sorry if I have been hard on you.’ It was not a sincere apology. He said, ‘I still think you and your brother are faggots’.

“I said, ‘What’s your problem?’ I think I used the word ‘p****’. He then assaulted me with his right arm … it caught me on the side of the face,” Evans said. He said he had felt threatened. “I put my hand out to push him away … to defend myself … I did not realise I had the glass in my hand.”

An earlier witness had said no-one deserved a glass in the face for verbally abusing someone, and Evans said he agreed. But he was 100 per cent certain Mr McCaig had physically assaulted him. “I know I never meant to cause Mr McCaig any harm. I was merely trying to defend myself,” he said.

Dev Kapadia, prosecuting, suggested: “You felt he had gone a step too far with his verbal abuse and in the spur of the moment the red mist came over you and you punched him.”

Evans replied: “He had not overstepped his mark verbally, he had overstepped his mark by attacking me.”

Mr Kapadia: “Whether you realised you had the glass in your hand is neither here nor there, you had formed an intention to punch him.”

Evans: “No, it was a reaction. There was no thought process to punch him.”