By Kirk Starratt
A judge has ruled a video statement important to the Crown’s case against Kyle David James Fredericks will not be admissible as evidence in his trial.
The 23-year-old Somerset man is standing trial on charges of criminal negligence causing death and trafficking hydromorphone in Berwick March 18, 2011. The charges laid in March of 2012, are related to the death of Joshua Grave.
Fredericks pleaded not guilty to the charges June 11, 2012.
Judge Alan Tufts ruled Jan. 30 that a video statement given by Fredericks to police is not admissible. Tufts said he has a reasonable doubt the statement was made voluntarily.
“The Crown has not proven that the statement was voluntary,” Tufts said. He had earlier ruled on Jan. 16 that a video statement from a witness, Aarron Robicheaud, is admissible.
Crown attorney Bill Ferguson and defence lawyer Chris Manning declined to speak with media Jan. 30. However, Ferguson said Jan. 16 the video statement was very important to the Crown’s case.
Manning said he wouldn’t be calling any evidence in the trial.
In making his closing arguments, Crown attorney Bill Ferguson said the only arguable issue is whether or not Fredericks’ actions caused the death of Graves. Ferguson said Aaron Robicheaud, who hosted the house party, testified he saw Fredericks with a pill crusher and money but did not actually see Fredericks provide drugs to Graves.
Ferguson said Joseph Fraser testified he saw Graves with a pill crusher given to him by Fredericks. Fraser testified Fredericks told Fraser after Graves’ death that Fredericks had supplied the drugs to Graves.
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“We can throw all the conjecture up we want but the testimony and evidence is that the pill came from Fredericks,” Ferguson said.
Ferguson said Fredericks was willfully providing Graves with a narcotic Fredericks had no prescription for or no legal right to be distributing. Ferguson said Fredericks knowingly provided the drugs and was willfully blind to the possible consequences. Ferguson noted hydromorphone is prescribed as a restricted drug for a reason.
Crown lawyer Bill Watts said the evidence is there for a conviction on the trafficking charge as well.
In his closing arguments, Manning said proof of the trafficking charge is required to prove the criminal negligence causing death charge.
Manning said the evidence on the Robicheaud video is at odds with the evidence Robicheaud gave under oath and with the testimony of others.
“The video statement is a series of contradictions,” Manning said. “ (Robicheaud) said he gave police what they wanted to hear.”
Manning said Robicheaud implicated Fredericks in the statement, but also said Fredericks sold to Fraser, which Fraser rejected under oath. Manning said Robicheaud’s statement wasn’t sworn and should be given little weight, if any, because it doesn’t have sufficient reliability.
Forensic pathologist and medical examiner Marnie Wood testified the cause of death was officially ruled accidental. Graves had ethanol (beverage alcohol) and hydromorphone in his system at the time of his death. Brittany Balcom, Graves’ girlfriend, testified Graves had a history of Dilaudid use.
“We don’t know where he took Dilaudid, we don’t know how much he took and we don’t know how long it was in his system,” Manning said. “We just don’t know. All we can say is he had Dilaudid in his system.”
Manning said there was no suggestion anybody knew it was dangerous to mix alcohol and dilaudid.
“Would a reasonable person foresee bodily harm? In this case, I’d suggest no,” Manning said.
The trial has been adjourned to Feb. 21 for a decision.
Judge Alan Tufts has adjourned the Kyle Fredericks case to Feb. 21 for a decision.
Crown attorney Bill Ferguson and Fredericks' lawyer Chris Manning made their closing arguments earlier today.
A video statement from Kyle Fredericks will not be admissible in his ongoing trial on charges of drug trafficking and criminal negligence causing the 2011 death of Josh Graves.
Judge Alan Tufts ruled he has a reasonable doubt the statement was made voluntarily.
The court took a break around 10:30 a.m.
Defence lawyer Chris Manning will not be calling evidence at the trial.
Judge Tufts did grant an application from the CBC to photograph the video statements of witness Aaron Robicheaud and Fredericks.
The video statement from Robicheaud was ruled admissable Jan. 16.