Jury now deciding Raymond Cormier’s fate in death of Tina Fontaine - APTN NewsAPTN News

Jury now deciding Raymond Cormier’s fate in death of Tina Fontaine



John Murray
APTN News
Raymond Cormier, 56, can now only sit and wait to find out if he will be going to prison for second-degree murder of Tina Fontaine, 15.

The jury was given their final instructions from Chief Justice Glenn Joyal Wednesday and have now been sequestered until a verdict is reached.

Joyal spent roughly three hours presenting instructions to the 11 member jury. One jury member was excused last week for a family illness.

Although elements of the case were complicated and require careful analysis by jurors, the final decision only comes down to guilt or innocence on the charge of second-degree murder.

Joyal released a copy of the decision tree to media, which outlines clearly the choices jurors need to make.

Jurors must first decide if the death of Fontaine was unlawful. If it isn’t then they must find Cormier not guilty.

However, if the death is unlawful, they must decide if Cormier caused the unlawful death. If he did not then they must find him not guilty.

If he is found to have caused the unlawful death of Fontaine, he will be found guilty of second degree murder.

No other charges, such as manslaughter, will be considered.

The prosecutors case relied heavily on circumstantial evidence and on intercepts, clandestine recordings using hidden devices, produced by police after Cormier’s first arrest in October 2014.

Jurors heard the recordings during the trial and were invited to follow along on a transcript but that transcript cannot be used as evidence.

If jurors need to refer back to those they must rely on the recordings only.

Joyal recounted much of the evidence and testimony presented over the last three weeks of trial. He painted a clear picture as to what each piece needs to have considered.

Lack of forensic evidence was a big issue for defence lawyer Tony Kavanagh, as none of Cormier’s DNA was found on Fontaine’s body, on the duvet cover or in a pick-up truck allegedly used.

Kavanagh even made a motion for dismissal last week after crown prosecutor Jim Ross completed presenting his case.

Joyal refused the motion, among his reasons was that many cases resulted in guilty verdicts based on circumstantial evidence.

Ross said circumstantial evidence that the jury must contemplate is the police recordings, which he called the heart of the case, and witness testimony.

Three of those witnesses, Sarah Holland, Tyrell Morrison and Ernie DeWolfe, all have criminal records which the jury must consider alongside their testimony. They must decide if it detracts their credibility and trustworthiness, or if other evidence supports their testimony.

Ross asserts that the police recordings should be enough to convict because on them Cormier admits to a murder.

Kavanagh disagreed saying that the recordings are taken out of context and that Cormier was truthful in his denials.

In one recording Cormier is heard saying there are three rules in crime, “deny, deny’ deny”.

Deliberations may continue on in to the evening, or in to the following days.

The 11-member jury consists of seven women and four men. Of the 11 jurors, five are persons of colour.

@murrjw

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