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

  • Winnipeg man charged after woman stabbed, passerby who tried to help car stolen

    Canada News CTV News
    WINNIPEG -- A man has been charged with attempted murder in a stabbing and car theft. Winnipeg police say early Tuesday a 20-year-old woman was stabbed. A passerby tried to help the woman, but a man armed with a knife chased him off and then stole the passerby's vehicle. Source
  • Pope to first lady: what are you feeding Trump?

    World News CTV News
    BIZELJSKO, Slovenia -- Thanks to Pope Francis and the U.S. first lady, a traditional Slovenian dish is hitting the headlines. As Melania Trump approached and shook hands with the pontiff on Wednesday, Francis asked in Spanish through his interpreter and pointed toward President Donald Trump: "What do you give him to eat? Potica?" Source
  • 'People need answers': premier says Mud Lake flood probe will be independent

    Canada News CTV News
    ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - Newfoundland and Labrador's premier says he'll work with independent consultants and elders to assess why a community downstream from the new Muskrat Falls hydro dam was suddenly flooded. Dwight Ball says people need answers about what happened and whether it's safe to return to Mud Lake. Source
  • Montreal officer charged with manslaughter in 2016 plastic bullet death

    Canada News CTV News
    MONTREAL - A Montreal police officer has been charged with manslaughter in the death of a man in a drug raid last year. Christian Gilbert hit Jean-Pierre Bony in the head with a plastic bullet as the man was trying to clamber out of a window in the building where the police operation was taking place. Source
  • Exonerated Philadelphia man released after 24 years behind bars

    World News CTV News
    PHILADELPHIA - A Philadelphia man who was exonerated of murder has been released from prison after 24 years. Shaurn Thomas' conviction was removed during a hearing Tuesday, and he was released from the prison in Frackville that night. Source
  • RCMP's Labour Code trial stemming from shooting hears about carbine acquisition

    Canada News CTV News
    MONCTON, N.B. -- Obtaining carbine rifles was a top priority for the RCMP three years before a shooting rampage in Moncton, N.B., but there were a number of elements to consider before front line officers were armed with the high-powered weapons, an inspector has testified at the national police force's Labour Code trial. Source
  • Unconscious man rode on Tennessee couple's trunk for miles: 'I hope he takes a good look' at himself

    World News Toronto Sun
    MEMPHIS, Tenn. — When police pulled over a Tennessee couple and told them a body was lying on the trunk of their car, they thought it was a joke — until they got out to look. They found an unconscious man who had somehow remained on the trunk for about 14 miles (23 kilometres). Source
  • Coffee roaster Kicking Horse sold to Italy's Lavazza

    Canada News CBC News
    Italian coffee conglomerate Lavazza has bought an 80 per cent stake in B.C.-based Kicking Horse Coffee in a deal that values the company at $215 million. Elana Rosenfeld, who founded the Kicking Horse brand in 1996, will continue to own the remaining 20 per cent and will continue to be CEO of the company, which has grown to become the No. Source
  • Trump said to praise 'great job' in Philippine drugs fight

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON - A leaked transcript of President Donald Trump's call last month to the Philippine president shows Trump praising Rodrigo Duterte for an "unbelievable job" in waging a drug fight that's left thousands dead and drawn condemnation from American lawmakers. Source
  • Final vote count due today in B.C. election; still no majority government

    Canada News CTV News
    VICTORIA -- The New Democrats continue to hold a slim lead in Vancouver Island's crucial Courtenay-Comox riding, where the results could determine the next British Columbia government. The latest Elections BC absentee ballot count today has NDP candidate Ronna-Rae Leonard maintaining her 101 vote lead on Liberal candidate Jim Benninger. Source