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Pepper spraying shooting victim is 'direct evidence of aiding and abetting', says Crown

Michael Bjornaa's lawyer is asking a judge to dismiss several charges, including attempted murder
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A Sault Ste. Marie Police Service cruiser sits between two Wellington Street East homes in this Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014 file photo. Michael Purvis/SooToday

Michael Bjornaa's trial on charges stemming from incidents that occurred in October 2014 has been adjourned until Friday so the judge can get a transcript of a witness's testimony.

Superior Court Justice Ian McMillan wants the transcript to review the testimony of Alex Gingras before ruling on a motion for a directed verdict filed Wednesday by the defence.

Bjornaa's lawyer Don Orazietti is requesting dismissal of three charges stemming from an incident at Gingras's home that occurred on Oct. 22, 2014, prior to a shooting incident at another nearby residence.

He also argued for dismissal of some charges, including an attempted murder charge, relating to the shooting of Jayme Carlson (Bellerose).

Bjornaa has pleaded not guilty to 10 charges in connection with the two incidents.

The counts involving Gingras are break and enter to commit the indictable offence of assault with a weapon, forcible confinement, and using a firearm while committing the indictable offence of break and enter.

Carlson was shot a dozen times by Daved Nadon, who was armed with a .22 calibre handgun, and accompanied by Bjornaa, in a house on Wellington Street East.

Nadon pleaded guilty to attempted murder and a number of other charges related to the shooting last year and received a 10-year prison sentence.

Gingras testified Tuesday about three men — Bjornaa, a man named Dave and a third male he didn't know — who came into his residence uninvited looking for Carlson, and checked all the rooms.

The 52-year-old man said Dave grabbed his ponytail and put a gun to his head.

"I said go ahead, shoot me. I've lived my life," he told prosecutor Dana Peterson.

Gingras said he's been heavily into drugs for the past five years and there are things he doesn't remember.

When he was cross-examined by Orazietti, he agreed "a 100 percent" that Bjornaa didn't threaten him.

Orazietti also suggested that he doesn't have a very reliable memory.

"I'm remembering the best I can," Gingras responded.

On Wednesday, Orazietti argued Gingras has a problem with his memory and has indicated that his evidence is unreliable.

Peterson said Carlson's evidence about the three men at the house where he was attacked corroborated Gingras 's testimony about the trio that had been at his place prior to the shooting.

Referring to the attempted murder using a firearm charge, Orazietti said the Crown has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that his client meant to cause death.

There is no evidence Bjornaa did anything for the purpose of aiding and abetting Nadon, he maintained, adding "what you have here is a presence at a crime."

Bjornaa entered the apartment first and it's not clear when Nadon came in, he said.

Orazietti said the court was left with Carlson's evidence, a person who has a "big interest in this case" because he's seeking compensation as the result of the criminal acts against him.

Peterson countered there was a plan to go look for Carlson with a loaded handgun, and when they found him there immediately was shooting.

Once Nadon started shooting and fired 15 times, there was an intent to kill, the assistant Crown attorney said.

Bjornaa was there by Nadon's side and when Carlson went down "riddled with bullets" he pepper sprayed him, she said.

"This is direct evidence of aiding and abetting."

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