Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Fatal punch self-defence, accused’s lawyer argues

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ABRAHAM Lagimodiere admits to throwing the punch that ultimately led to the death of a man after he hit his head on the pavement at a Fife Street townhouse complex.

But that deadly blow was lobbed in self-defence, given the way the victim and his brother were acting toward Lagimodiere and his family and isn’t a case of manslaughter, he and his legal team testified Monday.

The 27-year-old has pleaded not guilty to killing Marlin Gray, 36, in a June 16, 2012, confrontation inside the concrete courtyard of the Manitoba Housing block at 1391 Fife St.

Gray died two days later in hospital.

"This is not a case of whodunnit," Crown prosecutor Libby Standil told a nine-man, three-woman jury in an opening statement at Lagimodiere’s trial. "In fact, there is video footage of the blow that caused Marlin Gray to die," Standil said.

In addition to the video — which was captured by a witness and seized by Winnipeg police — Standil said they will also call eyewitnesses to the fatal altercation.

She described the Crown’s case as "straightforward" and asked jurors not to be intimidated by the serious nature of the allegations.

In a rarely seen move, Lagimodiere’s defence lawyers made an opening statement at the outset to describe how they will attempt to show jurors what they’re really looking at is a clear-cut case of self-defence.

Yes, there’s a video of the event, Jody Ostapiw said. But the video doesn’t show the whole context, she added. "This case is about everything that happened before that video starts rolling," said Ostapiw.

"Mr. Lagimodiere punched Mr. Gray one time… he freely admits he punched Mr. Gray a single time. He did so as a result of the actions of Mr. Gray. This case is not just about what Mr. Lagimodiere did on that fateful day — but what Mr. Gray and his brother… did as well," said Ostapiw.

Jurors will hear of "actions" the brothers took against Lagimodiere’s family and ultimately, Lagimodiere himself, said the lawyer. "You will hear about weapons. You will hear about drugs and alcohol Marlin Gray had in his system at the time he died," she added.

The video will show Gray straightening his "many rings" as he approached to fight Lagimodiere, said Ostapiw. "We say that being hit with those rings would be the same as being hit with brass knuckles," she said. He should be found not guilty, Ostapiw urged.

Lagimodiere will testify on his own behalf, court heard. His trial is slated to last two weeks.

 

james.turner@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 14, 2014 B4

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