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No mistrial in sex abuse case

The trial got underway Tuesday
The Sault Ste. Marie Courthouse is pictured in this file photo.

Superior Court Justice Edward Gareau said no Thursday to a defence request for a mistrial in the criminal case against a local man charged with dated sex offences.

He dismissed the application filed by Michael Marin's lawyer, saying that "granting of a mistrial is an extreme remedy" and "only granted as a last resort."

The "facts fall very short" of the required threshold for a mistrial, he said, indicating written reasons for his decision will follow.

Marin, 63, has pleaded not guilty to six charges, stemming from incidents alleged to have occurred between the early 2000s and 2015.

Since the trial got underway Tuesday, Gareau has dismissed a prosecution application requesting that the woman be allowed to testify via closed-circuit television and the defence mistrial motion.

On Thursday, assistant Crown attorney David Kirk called the defence request a "really spurious application" that "has no merit."

His argument was in response to lawyer Bruce Wilson's request that the judge recuse himself and declare a mistrial because of information the Crown had filed in support of its request to have the woman give her evidence from outside the courtroom by CCTV.

Willson maintained that the summary of a video statement the complainant gave police was a prior consistent statement, which is inadmissible at the trial.

Describing the statement as prejudicial, he argued that the application should have been heard by another judge.

Kirk countered that the material was a synopsis, not a verbatim statement.

"To suggest it is a prior consistent statement is simply wrong."

It was to give the court context, "not asking you to make any findings of veracity or to use at trial,"  he said.

Judges have the ability to compartmentalize evidence and issues, the Crown said.

They routinely make rulings on pre-trial applications and evidentiary issues.

"No reasonable person would perceive you would incorrectly use evidence from pre-trial applications, consciously or subconsciously."

There isn't even a suspicion of bias here, Kirk said. 

"You are doing a job judges do every day."

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About the Author: Linda Richardson

Linda Richardson is a freelance journalist who has been covering Sault Ste. Marie's courts and other local news for more than 45 years.
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