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Lawyer arguments heard in Regina attempted murder trial

Crown seeks guilty verdict to lesser charge, defence says acquit.

REGINA –  Arguments between Crown and defence were heard in the attempted murder trial of Thomas Adam Stevenson.

Early in the Crown submissions, prosecutor David Belanger noted his position was that the accused was not guilty of attempted murder, but guilty of a lesser charge of discharging a firearm with intent to injure or end the life of the victim.

In previous days, the court heard that Stevenson, along with other members of the Indian Mafia street gang, planned to “shoot up” an apartment containing known Native Syndicate Killers members - sworn enemies at the time of the shooting. Instead of firing upon the building, an NSK member - whose identity is subject to a publication ban - happened to walk along the street and was fired upon by the IM members in a truck.

Stevenson was not the person who fired the weapon, but was one of those in attendance that evening - raising the question of liability by association.

“The only obvious and logical answer to that question is yes,” said Belanger to the question of whether someone assisting in the plot to cause injury or death ought to be held liable.

Belanger referred to the agreed statement of facts presented on the first day of the trial. A firearm was used to injure or kill the victim, and Travis Sutherland admitted to discharging that weapon.

“What we contend is that Thomas Stevenson aided Travis Sutherland,” Belanger summarized.

Defence counsel Thomas Hynes attacked the consistency and reliability of witness testimony. He argued that no firm agreement to shoot up the house or fire upon an individual was in place on Sept. 19, 2019, that it could not be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. Hynes also raised several points where the witness in question changed his evidence between the preliminary trial and the one at hand. Examples included how many people were involved that night, the position of those involved in relation to the truck used by the IM members, and even the exact location of where the shooting occurred.

“Fundamentally, we say [name protected by publication ban] is an exceedingly problematic witness,” Hynes said.

One large hole Hynes did raise was testimony from Sutherland - a person he noted was on the list of witnesses, then removed. He referred to that potential viewpoint as “something that could have been a tie-breaker” between the victim and protected witness testimony.

Ultimately, Hynes was seeking that Justice Peter T. Bergbusch acquit Stevenson and find him not guilty on both counts before him - attempted murder and discharging a firearm.

Bergbusch will reserve his decision until April 11 on this matter, taking time to review submissions, evidence, and relevant case law.

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