Marty McSorley (defendant) was a player for the National Hockey League’s (NHL) Boston Bruins. During a game, McSorley got into a fight with an opposing player, Donald Brashear. Throughout the remainder of the game, Brashear taunted Boston players and was responsible for taking Boston’s goalie out of the game. When the game was nearly finished, Boston’s coach directed McSorley to get revenge on Brashear. When Brashear skated past McSorley, McSorley struck Brashear in the head with his stick, in violation of NHL rules. The strike caused Brashear to suffer a severe concussion. The Canadian government (plaintiff) sought a criminal charge of assault against McSorley.