Max Evans trial: ‘Star glassed me as I drank champagne in nightclub’
Alasdair McCaig, 29, said he had been standing chatting when someone approached from the side and struck him around the eye with a glass.
He said he saw the person but did not recognise him. He was later told by police it was Max Evans, the rugby internationalist, Mr McCaig stated.
He denied that he had been “niggling” Evans with insults about him and his brother, Thom, who also played rugby for Scotland, and insisted the accused had been the first to aim a blow. “I would know if I had lashed out at someone. I’ve never done that in my life,” Mr McCaig told Edinburgh Sheriff Court.
Evans, 28, is accused of assaulting Mr McCaig to his severe injury, permanent disfigurement and permanent impairment on 1 August, 2010, at Lulu nightclub in George Street, Edinburgh.
Evans, who plays for Castres in France and formerly was with Glasgow Warriors, pleads self-defence, saying he had been assaulted by Mr McCaig.
The court heard that Mr McCaig had been to a birthday party during the day and a friend’s house in the evening before going to the nightclub with his sister. They met a friend and the three of them went into a VIP room, reserved for those with “ambassador membership”. He ordered a bottle of champagne.
“I was standing with my back to the bar… we were just catching up with each other, chatting away, as you do. The next thing, someone comes from my right- hand side and strikes me in the face and then hastily exits the membership area,” said Mr McCaig.
He told the court he had been hit by a glass near the right eye and “a huge amount of blood” poured from the wound. He had been taken by surprise and was “slightly flabbergasted”.
He had been treated for a deep cut to the eyebrow and a cut below the eye. The injuries had caused nerve damage, which a consultant had informed him could not be repaired, although they might heal in time. As a result, he had no feeling in one half of his forehead.
“The numb sensation is still there. You could put a pin in it and not feel it,” he said.
Mr McCaig pointed to Evans in the dock as his assailant. He said he [Mr McCaig] had been handcuffed as he came out of an ambulance where he had been treated, and was taken to a police station for questioning.
“He had said I assaulted him. It was not until after I was questioned that [the policeman] told me who the individual was,” said Mr McCaig.
He agreed with the defence counsel, Kevin McCallum, that he followed rugby, but not avidly. He believed he and Evans had mutual friends, and that he had once been at a rugby party attended by Evans and his brother, Thom, both high-profile professional players at the time.
Mr McCallum suggested the witness’s account of not knowing Evans before the nightclub incident was “nonsense” and there had been a verbal confrontation between them in the VIP room while Evans was in the company of a young woman.
Mr McCaig insisted he had not known it was Evans until informed by the police, and denied insulting him.
Mr McCallum said: “You decided you wanted to niggle him, wind him up. You said, ‘Evans, what are you doing in Edinburgh? F*** off back to Glasgow… Evans, you are a f***** … your brother is a pussy… you and your brother are f******.’ You aimed a blow at him. You made contact with his face,” said Mr McCallum.
Mr McCaig said: “No.”
Mr McCallum said Evans had reacted by pushing out or punching out with his left hand, because his right hand was being held by the woman.
“Unfortunately, he still had the glass in his hand,” added Mr McCallum.
Mr McCaig disputed that version of events, and said: “I’m quite a peaceable chap. I keep myself to myself. I do not go out looking for trouble.”
The trial continues.