Canada: N.L. skipper found guilty of trying to throw wife overboard, even after she told judge the story was made up - PressFrom - Canada

CanadaN.L. skipper found guilty of trying to throw wife overboard, even after she told judge the story was made up

13:16  11 january  2019
13:16  11 january  2019 Source:

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N.L. skipper found guilty of trying to throw wife overboard, even after she told judge the story was made up© Peter J. Thompson/National Post/File Fishing boats in Twillingate's harbour in Newfoundland.

When a Newfoundland judge was about to sentence the skipper of a fishing boat for trying to throw his wife overboard, he suddenly found himself in a tricky legal position.

The skipper’s wife — the victim of the crime that had just been proved beyond a reasonable doubt — came forward to say it never happened, that she made it all up because she was angry.

This was a problem, raising fears of a miscarriage of justice, and the judge’s ultimate solution is a rare illustration of the law on victims who recant criminal accusations.

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When he briefly re-opened the trial last week, Judge Wayne Gorman had already convicted Trent John White of assault and aggravated assault, plus mischief for actually throwing his wife Jessica Decker’s cellphone into the heaving North Atlantic during a fight over her use of opiates. White admitted throwing the phone, but could not explain why, and denied assaulting her.

As White put it, bluntly, if he “wanted to throw her overboard, she would have been overboard.”

But Judge Gorman did not believe his denials. He believed the two crew members who were aboard the boat in the Labrador Sea in the summer of 2017, fishing for turbot, when they heard screaming from the back of the boat. They testified they found White and Decker struggling, with Decker halfway over the side.

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Jury nullification is a concept where members of a trial jury find a defendant not guilty if they do not support a government's law, do not believe it is constitutional or humane, or do not support a possible punishment for breaking the law. This may happen in both civil and criminal trials.

Yacht skipper charged over 1978 murder of British couple ' was caught when his sons told police they saw Boston's son Vince told police their father had moved them away from Sacramento to avoid rape charges and She said his two sons were also on board and Boston regularly lost his temper at them.

As crew member Eustace Hewlin put it: “Well we heard a loud scream — me and (another crew member) was up in the wheelhouse; I think we were eating a sandwich at the time, or I was, and then I heard a scream — like, a desperate scream for help, and both of us barrelled back to the deck of the boat where we observed — Jessica was over the side of the boat with her fist grabbed — her hand grabbed around the fish trays, and one leg was still in over the boat. So, immediately we just grabbed Jessica and hauled her back in over and from there on I don’t know — I can’t say too much after.”

Had Decker actually gone overboard, Hewlin testified, they would never have been able to get her back, given the rough sea.

In considering whether to pursue this new claim that the victim lied, Judge Gorman decided the risk of wrongful conviction demanded he interpret the law liberally and re-open the trial, even after reaching the guilty verdicts.

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After the boat drifted for about an hour, the couple were thrown overboard with lead weights After 50 years, the tale of the murders of senior Circuit Judge Curtis Chillingworth and his wife Yenzer was also a pal of Peel and told the now ex- judge that Lucky might be preparing to squeal to the cops. The very thing Peel had been trying to avoid when he ordered the judge killed had ended up

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He decided he could not refuse to hear from Decker on technical grounds, simply because she had been subpoenaed by the Crown and was present at the trial, but not called as a witness by either prosecution or defence.

Not calling her was “a reasonable and tactical decision made by Mr. White’s former counsel,” based on the fact, as the lawyer later explained in an affidavit, that she gave inconsistent versions of her recollections. White got a new lawyer after his conviction.

A tactical decision by defence counsel is not normally enough to warrant re-opening a trial, but Judge Gorman let Decker testify to see if it would alter his verdicts.

She said she lived with White through the spring and summer of 2017, and that she has an addiction to opiates, and he to alcohol, but that their relationship was “great.” At the time of the fishing trip, she had given him all her pills, so he could dole them out slowly to wean her off. She said they would often fight, typically at her instigation, which is what happened the day of the assault. She said she threatened to kill herself by jumping overboard, and White said to go ahead. She said she tried to make it look like he was hurting her, which is how they came to be struggling when the other two crew intervened.

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She 'll make up an excuse, but she 's really testing the waters. Try to keep up a positive mental attitude and move on with your life. There is more to life than being in a relationship I find it hard to say that ex may return to you because sometimes it's more about the memories rather than the deep

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She did not report the assault until several months later, when she spoke to police after they responded to reports that he was assaulting her on a roadside.

She was interviewed by an officer, but as she told Judge Gorman, she lied and exaggerated for two reasons: to get back at White, and to divert police suspicion from her own possession of drugs and the fact she had just driven a vehicle. She claimed she was very high during the interview, but the police officer found her sober and had no concerns about her mental state.

So Judge Gorman re-opened the trial and heard her out, but it had no effect on the convictions. He concluded Decker was not being honest, and that her recanting was “purposefully false” and designed to help her husband, who faces a significant jail sentence.

“I do not accept Ms. Decker’s evidence as being reliable or honest. It does not, in the context of the totality of the evidence presented cause me to have a reasonable doubt. It does not cause me to alter any of my verdicts,” Gorman wrote in his new decision this week.

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