Scales of justice
The trial of a 22-year-old Charlottetown man charged in connection with the commission of a robbery and home invasion last year in Emyvale took a bizarre turn Monday when a key Crown witness appeared to develop a serious lapse in memory.
Chase Roper, who’s already serving a federal sentence for his part in the same offence, was called to testify against alleged co-accused Derry Ian Bird.
Bird is charged with armed robbery, wearing a mask in the commission of an offence and committing an assault while armed with a weapon.
But when Crown Prosecutor Cyndria Wedge asked Roper who he committed this offence with, the visibly nervous Roper said it was somebody he didn’t really know, somebody he’d just met.
That answer contradicts statements Roper made to police when he was interviewed.
Wedge asked Roper if he recalled making statements to police about the robbery.
He said he did not.
At that point in the proceedings, Wedge presented Roper with copies of the statements he’d made to police about the incident and told him to read every word in order to refresh his memory.
Supreme Court Justice Gordon Campbell adjourned the matter until this morning so Roper would have ample opportunity to review those statements.
The court heard testimony Monday from two other witnesses, Dean Fairhurst, the victim in this case, and from Fairhurst’s mother, whose home is located a short walk from her son’s mini-home.
Dean Fairhurst testified he was in his bedroom on the day in question when he was awakened about 3 a.m. by motion sensor-operated security devices that told him someone or something was on his property.
Before he could get out of his bedroom, his door was forced open and two men entered shouting “police.”
Fairhurst said the two men wore tracksuits and concealed their faces behind masks.
Both, he testified, carried guns.
One carried a handgun, the other a rifle or shotgun.
Fairhurst said one of the men put a gun to his head while they demanded to know where he kept his “stuff”.
Fairhurst eventually gave up the location of some Dilaudid pills that had been on top of the fridge.
He gave up nothing else but they found about 150 grams of cocaine and some cash.
Fairhurst, a serious cocaine addict who said he’d done about $250,000 worth of cocaine over the last three or four years, told the court he had paid about $18,000 for the drugs taken from his house but they were worth twice that on the street.
During this ordeal, one of the two men kicked Fairhurst several times in the stomach.
They then bound Fairhurst’s legs and arms with duct tape and fled.
Fairhurst said he was able to free his arms and locate a second cellphone — the other one was smashed during the robbery — and call his mother.
Linda Fairhurst immediately went to her son’s residence and helped remove the remaining duct tape.
He said he didn’t immediately call police because he was worried the people who broke into his residence would come back.
He went to police several days later after talking about the matter with friends.
Fairhurst said he did not know who the two men were who broke into his house because he didn’t see their faces and did not recognize their voices.
Bird’s defence counsel, Brendan Hubley, questioned Fairhurst at length about his description of the two robbers, what they wore and the weapons they were alleged to have used.
Hubley also cross-examined Fairhurst on his statements with regards to who did all the talking, who kicked him, who held the gun to his head and who went in search of drugs and/or money.
He also asked Fairhurst about his criminal record.
Fairhurst admitted to multiple convictions for drug-related offences.