Jury urged to find Melonie Biddersingh drowned in unclear circumstances

TORONTO -- The defence at a trial involving the death of a teenage girl whose body was found stuffed in a burning suitcase is urging jurors to accept forensic evidence that she drowned.

See Full Article

Lawyer Jennifer Penman tells the Toronto jury there is no evidence as to how Melonie Biddersingh drowned.

Given the uncertainty, Penman says jurors must acquit her father, Everton Biddersingh, 60, of first-degree murder.

Court has heard from the stepmother and brother about the terrible abuse 17-year-old Biddersingh endured before her death.

Penman says convicting her father on the basis of what she termed their self-serving testimony would be dangerous.

The defence called no witnesses and Biddersingh didn't take the stand in his own defence.

He has pleaded not guilty in the death of his daughter, whose charred body was found 21 years ago. It would be almost two decades before police were able to lay charges.

The Crown argues the teen died Sept. 1, 1994, essentially starved to death.

The trial has previously heard that the teen was confined for hours in a tiny closet, had her head placed in a toilet that was flushed, was chained to the furniture at times, was denied food and was kicked, punched and thrown against walls by her father.

After she died, the Crown has said, Biddersingh crammed his daughter into a suitcase, drove her to a remote area and set her on fire.

"The tragedy of this young woman's death may easily overwhelm our imaginations," Penman said in her closing argument. "A lot of terrible things went on in that apartment."

Penman said her weakened state might have been a factor in her death.

"That is not the same thing as saying starvation was the cause of death," the lawyer said.

Biddersingh's wife, Elaine, whom the defence said "hated" the teen, faces her own murder trial in April.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Hillary Clinton praises Trudeau, celebrates Roy Moore defeat in Vancouver

    Canada News CTV News
    VANCOUVER -- Hillary Clinton says she feels "a tiny bit less" concerned about the United States following the Democratic party's surprise win in Alabama's senate race on Tuesday. The former presidential candidate is calling the electoral upset a turning point for Americans in pushing for accountability from U.S. Source
  • Alberta says Sask. has implemented licence plate ban on government job sites

    Canada News CTV News
    EDMONTON -- Alberta says Saskatchewan has served notice that as of right now no vehicles with Alberta licence plates are allowed on any Saskatchewan government job sites. That is a change from last week, when Saskatchewan said the ban would apply only on future government road and building projects. Source
  • 2 Reuters journalists arrested in Myanmar face official secrets charges

    World News CBC News
    Myanmar's government said on Wednesday that police had arrested two Reuters journalists, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo. The reporters had been working on stories about a military crackdown on the Rohingya Muslim minority in Rahkine State that has caused almost 650,000 people to flee to neighbouring Bangladesh. Source
  • Ontario Liberals ordered hydro firms to advertise rate-cut plan on bills: NDP

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath says the provincial government ordered hydro distribution companies to place partisan messages on customers' bills that advertise the Liberals' plan to cut electricity rates. Horwath says the order, signed by Energy Minister Glenn Thibeault and deputy premier Deb Matthews, said the messages promoting the government's Fair Hydro Plan were to appear on bills from July 2017 to July 2018, a period which ends a month after the next provincial…
  • Police looking for more women extorted for nude photos in alleged Ont.-wide scheme

    Canada News CTV News
    Police have laid dozens of charges against a man accused of using Instagram and Snapchat to extort women for nude photographs and money. Police allege that the 22-year-old from Stratford, Ont. communicated with more than 12 women from across the province and promised them money in exchange for naked pictures of themselves. Source
  • Alberta MLA Derek Fildebrandt charged with illegal deer kill on private land

    Canada News CTV News
    EDMONTON -- An Alberta member of the legislature who is already dealing with charges of hit and run is now facing accusations of illegally shooting a deer. Derek Fildebrandt, the Independent member for Strathmore-Brooks, has been charged with unlawful possession of wildlife and entering onto private land without permission. Source
  • Wildlife committee launches emergency assessment for B.C. steelhead salmon

    Canada News CTV News
    VANCOUVER -- The dismal return for steelhead salmon in British Columbia's Interior Fraser River system has prompted an emergency assessment of the species. Alan Sinclair with the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada says average annual returns of the fish should be in the range of 1,000 to 2,000. Source
  • Wildlife committee launches emergency assessment for B.C. steelhead

    Canada News CTV News
    VANCOUVER -- A dismal return for steelhead salmon in British Columbia's Interior Fraser River system has prompted an emergency assessment of the species. Eric Taylor, chair of Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, said two recent requests from the public for an investigation into the species in addition to mounting evidence of the steelhead decline led to last week's decision to take action. Source
  • Hostage situation at Toronto-area bank ends after police shoot armed man

    Canada News CBC News
    The armed man who entered a bank in Vaughan Wednesday afternoon has been shot and killed, York Regional Police say. Const. Andy Pattenden said police needed "lethal force" to gain control of the situation at an RBC bank branch located at the corner of Major Mackenzie Drive West and Dufferin Street. Source
  • Accused tells Winnipeg letter-bomb trial he knows nothing about explosives

    Canada News CTV News
    WINNIPEG -- A man accused of sending letter bombs to two law offices and his ex-wife testified Wednesday that he was trying to put an acrimonious past with her behind him and did not send the packages. Source