Crown calls rebuttal witnesses in home invasion trial

Ryan Ross
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With testimony complete in Derry Ian Bird trial, submissions due Jan. 17 with verdict due Feb. 14

Scales of justice

A tattoo artist who was accused during a robbery trial of stealing pills from one of his customers says he didn’t do it and doesn’t know how or why he ended up on the witness stand Tuesday.

Artie Gautreau testified in P.E.I. Supreme Court during the trial for Derry Ian Bird, who is accused of being involved in the violent robbery of a convicted drug dealer in Emyvale in May 2012.

During the trial, Bird testified that a letter he wrote that referred to a robbery he was involved in had nothing to do to with the one he was on trial for and was something he did with Gautreau.

On Thursday, Gautreau said none of that made any sense.

“I don’t even know why I’m here,” he said.

Gautreau was one of four rebuttal witnesses Crown attorney Cindy Wedge called to testify Tuesday in an unusual move after both sides closed their cases more than a week ago.

Wedge argued the witnesses were necessary to deal with evidence that came up during the trial and she said wasn’t relevant until it was raised in court.

When he entered the courtroom, Gautreau, who was in custody for an unrelated offence and wore a dark blue sweatshirt and grey sweatpants from the provincial jail, shuffled across the floor with his feet shackled as he took the stand.

The first thing Gautreau said was that he wasn’t happy to be there.

“I’ve got nothing to do with this.”

Gautreau testified that he knew Bird, he had tattooed him before and the two had dealt marijuana together, but it was the only criminal dealings they had with each other.

Bird previously testified he and Gautreau stole pills from someone at the latter’s tattoo shop.

Gautreau denied it and questioned why he would steal from someone there.

“I don’t think it would be very good for business.”

He also questioned why Jason Yeo, who was the man Bird wrote the letter to and has been charged in the Emyvale incident, would care about a robbery Gautreau and Bird were involved in.

“Does anybody else find that odd or just me?” Gautreau asked.

Along with Gautreau, two tenants who rented from Bird’s parents testified Tuesday, disputing alibi evidence that put Bird at home on the night of the robbery.

Both parents previously testified there was a complaint about Bird smoking marijuana at the house that night.

But on Tuesday, the tenants said they had moved out about a week before the robbery and the incident with the marijuana led to the move.

An RCMP officer also took the stood to rebut Bird’s mother’s claims that she routinely kept a diary of meal plans and other information.

Although most of the witnesses Wedge tried to call testified Tuesday, Justice Gordon Campbell didn’t allow Guardian reporter Jim Day to take the stand.

Wedge had argued Bird’s father, Michael Bird, spoke to Day before giving his own testimony and talked to him about information that came up during the trial.

Witnesses are often excluded from sitting in the courtroom before they testify so they won’t know what evidence has been presented.

But Wedge said Michael confronted Day about media coverage of the trial and talked to him about things he shouldn’t have known about.

That left questions about whether Michael complied with the exclusion order, she said.

Campbell didn’t allow Wedge to call Day and said whatever Michael talked to him about didn’t touch on Derry’s innocence or guilt.

With all of the testimony complete, both sides have until Jan. 17 to provide Campbell with written submissions and they will be back in court Feb. 14 for a verdict.

rross@theguardian.pe.ca

twitter.com/ryanrross

Organizations: RCMP

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