Judge tells jury witnesses had reason to lie in case of teen found stuffed suitcase

TORONTO -- Two key witnesses in the case against a man charged with killing his teenaged daughter both had reason to lie, a judge told jurors on Wednesday.

See Full Article

In charging the jury, Superior Court Justice Al O'Marra warned the seven women and five men to view the testimony against Everton Biddersingh given by his wife and son with extreme caution.

"A central issue is the credibility of the principle witnesses," O'Marra said during his lengthy instructions. "It is up to you to decide how much to believe."

Elaine Biddersingh testified that her "monster" husband was abusive and beat her daily -- testimony not supported by other evidence -- and that she had no idea how her 17-year-old stepdaughter, Melonie Biddersingh, died in their small Toronto apartment in 1994.

She did however testify that she accompanied her husband -- on his orders -- to the location north of Toronto where the suitcase carrying Melonie's body was set on fire in 1994.

O'Marra noted that Elaine Biddersingh was present during abuse of the teen, and faces her own first-degree murder trial in April.

"She has an interest in the outcome of the case, a strong motivation to lie," the judge said.

Everton Biddersingh, 60, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of his daughter, who experts estimated weighed just 50 pounds -- the size of an average eight-year-old -- when she died.

Autopsy results showed she had 21 bone fractures in her lower back, pelvic area and legs in various stages of healing -- injuries that might be seen in a car-crash victim.

Her older brother, Cleon Biddersingh, testified that his father inflicted the injuries -- at the behest of his stepmother, who he said ruled the roost and believed the teen was possessed by the devil -- by kicking and stomping her.

In addition to beatings and food deprivation, the girl was frequently chained to the wall, had her head pressed into the toilet which was then flushed, was confined for hours at a time to a tiny broom closet, or shut out on the balcony.

In the days before her death, she could barely walk, was incontinent, in pain, and suicidal, Cleon Biddersingh testified.

"He could see her bones and ribs," O'Marra said in recounting the sibling's testimony.

Cleon Biddersingh also said he complied with his father's orders to beat his sister, but that he was careful not to hurt her, testimony O'Marra highlighted.

O'Marra also noted that charges including aggravated assault and criminal negligence were stayed against Cleon Biddersingh. He also noted several apparent inconsistencies in the brother's testimony, saying it was up to jurors to decide what to believe.

It's not certain exactly how the teen died -- it would take almost 20 years to identify her charred remains -- but it appears she either starved to death or drowned. The defence, which called no witnesses, maintains Elaine Biddersingh was a domestic tyrant obsessed with demons who drowned the girl.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • California may face 'significant risk' if Oroville dam isn't restored

    World News CTV News
    SAN FRANCISCO - California is not just fighting nature as it attempts to repair the nation's tallest dam, badly damaged last month by surging storm waters. It's also racing the clock. Safety experts say there is no time for delay in a state plan to restore the 235-metre Oroville Dam, and they warn California would face a "very significant risk" if a damaged spillway is not in working order by fall, the start of the next rainy season. Source
  • Officials: Sword death of black man in NYC an 'assault' on diversity

    World News CTV News
    New York City officials are calling the death of a black man who they say was repeatedly stabbed with a sword by a white U.S. Army veteran from Baltimore, "an assault" on the city's inclusiveness and diversity. Source
  • Teen accused of helping friend shoot girl in the head

    World News CTV News
    LOGAN, Utah -- A second teenager was ordered to stand trial Wednesday by a juvenile court judge who determined there's sufficient evidence to suggest he helped plan an attack that ended with his friend wounding a girl with a gunshot to the head. Source
  • Indonesian farmers cement feet to protest factory

    World News Toronto Sun
    JAKARTA, Indonesia — About 50 farmers and activists opposed to a cement factory in Indonesia’s Central Java province have encased their feet in concrete during a dayslong protest in Jakarta, the capital. Farmers in the village of Kendeng have battled against plans for the factory for years, saying it could taint their water. Source
  • South Korea raises ferry that sank three years ago

    World News CTV News
    SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of - A 6,800-ton South Korean ferry emerged from the water on Thursday, nearly three years after it capsized and sank into violent seas off the country's southwestern coast, an emotional moment for the country that continues to search for closure to one of its deadliest disasters ever. Source
  • Parents delayed help for wounded boy to scrub evidence, police say

    World News CTV News
    PHOENIX - The parents of a 9-year-old boy who was shot in the head in their Phoenix home put off calling 911 as they cleaned up evidence in multiple rooms of the house, police said Wednesday, calling it a case that "shocks your conscience. Source
  • Afghanistan hoping U.S. sends thousands more troops

    World News CBC News
    Afghanistan wants the United States to send more forces to help meet shortfalls in the battle against the Taliban and the Islamic State group, the nation's top diplomat said Tuesday. Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani welcomed a recent call by U.S. Source
  • Coroner's jury wants better mental health support for Vancouver transit police

    Canada News CTV News
    BURNABY, B.C. - A coroner's jury is recommending that transit police in the Vancouver area work more closely with mental health providers following the death of a man who repeatedly stabbed himself and was shot by an officer at a grocery store more than two years ago. Source
  • Liberal budget offers lots of 'vision' but few new numbers: Aaron Wherry

    Canada News CBC News
    At a dozen points in the budget document, the Liberals interrupt their announcements to explain "What Success Will Look Like." Canada, we are told at one point, "will have one of the most skilled, talented, creative and diverse workforces in the world. Source
  • Australian police arrest man in toddler’s 1970 disappearance

    World News Toronto Sun
    SYDNEY, Australia — Australian police have made an arrest in the mysterious disappearance of a toddler from a beach nearly 50 years ago, charging a man with the 3-year-old girl’s slaying in a case that has baffled officials for decades. Source