Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Charges dropped against man accused of sex assaults, voyeurism

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The trial of a Winnipeg man accused of surprise attacks on unsuspecting women came to an abrupt end in provincial court Friday.

Prosecutors elected to stay all criminal charges against Marcus Xavier Baird, 28.

Baird was accused of breaking into two residences and sexually assaulting women, both strangers, on April 4 and 5, 2011.

Police and the Crown also suspected him of voyeurism for recording the latter two incidents on camera.

He wasn't charged with the offences until well after police said they happened.

The decision to quash the case came in the middle of Baird's trial.

"We no longer feel that we have a reasonable likelihood of conviction," Crown attorney Dave Mann told Judge Robert Heinrichs.

No other explanation was given, other than that a close review of the case led to the decision.

Baird has been locked up for nearly three years now on various charges that ultimately weren't made out and were stayed.

The Crown had hoped to have Baird face all of his charges at once on the grounds they could call "similar fact" evidence, but his lawyers won a motion last year to break them up to avoid potential prejudice to his right to a fair hearing.

In 2012, Baird was found not guilty of assaulting two city sex-trade workers on the night of April 16, 2011 after a trial in the Court of Queen's Bench.

Justice Kenneth Hanssen cleared him because there was no corroborating evidence to back up the testimony made by one woman, and a lack of forensic evidence made it dangerous to convict him on the allegations made by the other, he said.

Court heard in April 2011, police had Baird under constant surveillance.

He was due to be released from remand on Friday.

james.turner@freepress.mb.ca

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