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

  • Donald's departure: President Trump leaves the White House today

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- Donald Trump will walk out of the White House and board Marine One for the last time as president Wednesday morning, leaving behind a legacy of chaos and tumult and a nation bitterly divided. Source
  • Trump frees former aides from ethics pledge, lobbying ban

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Donald Trump, in one of his final acts of office, released current and former members of his administration from the terms of their ethics pledge, which included a five-year ban on lobbying their former agencies. Source
  • Outreach by Tunisian leaders fails to quell youth unrest

    World News CTV News
    TUNIS, TUNISIA -- Tunisian youth clashed with police overnight, maintaining their protests and riots over economic difficulties despite efforts by the president and the prime minister to calm tensions. "Your voice is heard, and your anger is legitimate, and it is my role and the role of the government to work to realize your demands and to make the dream of Tunisia to become true," Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi appealed to the protesters on national television Tuesday night. Source
  • What's different about the coronavirus 'variants of concern' flagged by WHO

    Canada News CBC News
    The seemingly more transmissible variants of the coronavirus first discovered in Britain, South Africa and Brazil are called "variants of concern" by the World Health Organization. Viruses mutate or change all the time to try to gain a selective advantage over other variants or versions of the virus. Source
  • Governments with rookie leaders don't always have it easy in N.L. elections

    Canada News CBC News
    Incumbency is a powerful thing in politics and unseating an incumbent government is no easy feat. But it's a little easier when that incumbent government has a rookie leader at the helm. Especially in Newfoundland and Labrador. Source
  • Parliamentary hearings over Zoom an ongoing headache for translators

    Canada News CBC News
    Each day, translator Nicole Gagnon wakes up and heads to work worried she'll experience further loss of hearing — a sense even more vital to her livelihood than for many workers. Gagnon says she and other federally employed interpreters are suffering from injuries that range from tinnitus, which causes ringing in the ears, to headaches, nausea and "acoustic shock" after nine months of translating parliamentarians online via fuzzy laptop mics and poor internet connections. Source
  • Trump's legacy leaves Arctic with fewer environmental protections and more risk of conflict, experts warn

    World News CBC News
    As U.S. President Donald Trump leaves office, the Arctic is probably far from the minds of most Americans. Yet the region, where the U.S. is one of five nations with territorial waters, has loomed surprisingly large in the waning days of his presidency. Source
  • Netanyahu courts Arab voters in election-year turnabout

    World News CTV News
    JERUSALEM -- Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has spent much of his long career casting Israel's Arab minority as a potential fifth column led by terrorist sympathizers, is now openly courting their support as he seeks reelection in the country's fourth vote in less than two years. Source
  • Alibaba's Jack Ma makes first live appearance in three months in online meet

    World News CTV News
    SHANGHAI -- Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma met 100 rural teachers in China via a live video meeting on Wednesday morning, in the businessman's first appearance since October, triggering a sharp jump in the Hong Kong listed shares of the e-commerce giant. Source
  • Trump pardons former top strategist Steve Bannon, says source

    World News CBC News
    U.S. President Donald Trump has granted clemency to former White House aide Steve Bannon as part of a wave of pardons and commutations he will issue during his final hours in office, a senior administration official said. Trump was not expected to pardon himself, members of his family or lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who was at the forefront of unsuccessful efforts to get the results of the 2020 presidential election overturned, according to sources. Source