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Lawyer for Flames prospect charged in assault case hints at more witnesses

Brandon Wheat Kings Ryley Miller, Michael Ferland and Eric Roy celebrate Michael Ferland's goal on the Edmonton Oil Kings during first period WHL playoff hockey action in Edmonton, Alta., April 7, 2012. The lawyer for Calgary Flames left-winger Michael Ferland says there is a lot more to the story surrounding the aggravated assault charge his client faces stemming from a bar fight earlier this summer. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson.

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Brandon Wheat Kings Ryley Miller, Michael Ferland and Eric Roy celebrate Michael Ferland's goal on the Edmonton Oil Kings during first period WHL playoff hockey action in Edmonton, Alta., April 7, 2012. The lawyer for Calgary Flames left-winger Michael Ferland says there is a lot more to the story surrounding the aggravated assault charge his client faces stemming from a bar fight earlier this summer. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson.

COCHRANE, Alta. - The lawyer for Calgary Flames left-winger Michael Ferland says there is a lot more to the story surrounding the aggravated assault charge his client faces stemming from a bar fight earlier this summer.

Michael Bates suggested outside court Tuesday that there are additional witnesses that will present a fuller picture of what happened the night of July 29.

"It's obviously attracting attention because of Mr. Ferland being a hockey player. I suppose sadly in many ways it's not that uncommon of a case in terms of what has apparently happened," Bates told reporters after a hearing.

"But I think one of the things that we don't sometimes realize is that there's a lot more to the story and when we finally get all the potential witnesses interviewed we may be able to find some additional people as well that were there and can add to the picture."

Ferland was not in attendance Tuesday when his matter came up in Cochrane provincial court. Bates had the matter put off until Sept. 18 to obtain more information.

Ferland was charged with aggravated assault and assault last month relating to a disturbance outside a bar in Cochrane.

RCMP say a man who tried to help someone who had been pushed to the ground was struck in the face and knocked unconscious. He suffered a fractured orbital bone.

Investigators charged Ferland, of Brandon, Man., a week later.

In a statement released in August, Ferland denied any wrongdoing.

"It upset me to hear that someone might have been hurt and I am embarrassed by these accusations but I trust the court process and look forward to having this situation behind me as soon as possible,'' he said at the time.

Bates said Ferland doesn't want this case to drag out.

"He's taking it as well as anyone can. It's obviously brought a lot of unneeded pressure onto him in terms of dealing with it, but it is what it is and he's dealing with it appropriately," Bates said.

"We're going to move this thing forward as quickly as we can because we don't want it dragging out for anybody involved.

"The public wants to know what's happening. The laws are the same, the facts are the same whether a person is a hockey player or not."

The Flames, who drafted Ferland in 2010, are standing by their player.

"While embarrassed, Michael maintains he is innocent with respect to the charges," the Flames' statement released after charges were laid. "The organization will support Michael as he moves through the legal process."

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