Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Defence presents no evidence

From the Kingston Whig-Standard Online:

By Sue Yanagisawa

Jurors on the second-degree murder trial of the man accused of fatally stabbing Kingston taxi driver David Wayne Krick learned on Tuesday that they've heard all of the testimony that will be presented in the case.

Their work, which is to assess the evidence of witnesses and decide if it convinces them beyond a reasonable doubt that Richard E. Smith committed the crime, will begin in earnest on Thursday.

The 12-person jury, seven women and five men, was sent home early last Friday morning, after learning that the Crown had completed its case and would present no more evidence.

Toronto defence lawyer Gregory Leslie indicated at the close of the Crown's case that he wasn't prepared at that time to indicate whether he would call witnesses.

Jurors were instructed to return late Tuesday morning to begin hearing the defence case.

When the trial resumed, however, Leslie informed the court that after consulting with his Kingston co-counsel, Mary Jane Kingston, "it is the position of the defence the Crown has not proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt and the defence will not be calling any evidence."

That left Justice Douglas Belch with a scheduling question, since the lawyers for the Crown and defence still have to present their summations to the jury and Remembrance Day, which is a court holiday, falls on Thursday.

Belch explained to jurors that his charge will follow the lawyer's summations, instructing jurors on the law and how to apply it in this case. Once it's delivered, they must remain together until they have a verdict. They can't go home.

Belch told jurors he appreciated there might be some among them with Remembrance Day commitments and said he would never order them to sit on that day. But he also noted that the November observance is not a statutory holiday.

In the end, he left it up to the jurors to decide how they wanted to proceed.

Belch outlined several possible options in addition to beginning deliberations on Remembrance Day, including beginning them on Friday with the possibility of being sequestered into Saturday, or taking a break in proceedings until Monday.

The judge estimated that his charge will take about three hours and he warned jurors that their discussions in the jury room will probably be lengthy.

He advised them to pack small overnight bags of necessities, such as medications, and to bring them with them on the day of his charge, just in case they have to be sequestered overnight at a hotel.

He then sent them to their jury room to make their first decision in the case.

They emerged less than an hour later after sending word to the judge that they were willing to sit on Remembrance Day and wanted to get on with their task.

They were then instructed to return at 2 p.m. today to hear the closing arguments of the Crown and defence lawyers, with the defence speaking last since no defence witnesses were called.

Justice Belch will then instruct the jury Thursday morning and send them immediately to their jury room to decide the case.

Copyright © 2010 The Whig Standard

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