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

  • British foreign secretary 'positive and optimistic' on Trump

    World News CTV News
    Promises, pomp, protests as Donald Trump sworn in Latest updates: Trump returns to White House after celebrations Source
  • 16 killed in fiery bus crash on Italian highway

    World News CTV News
    ROME -- Italian police say 16 people died when a bus carrying Hungarian school students returning home from France crashed into the side of a highway near Verona. Thirty-nine people survived. Police commander Geralomo Lacquanita said the bus crashed and burst into flames just before midnight. Source
  • World jittery about Trump's 'America first' inaugural speech

    World News CTV News
    President Donald Trump's inaugural speech promised "America first" policy, but offered no specifics about America's place in the world. The billionaire businessman and reality television star -- the first president who had never held political office or high military rank -- promised to stir a "new national pride" and protect America from the "ravages" of countries he says have stolen U.S. Source
  • El Chapo's new home: a jail that held mobsters, terrorists

    World News CTV News
    NEW YORK -- In the heart of bustling lower Manhattan sits one of the country's most secure federal lockups -- and the new home of Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman. Guzman, who pleaded not guilty on Friday to charges he ran one of the world's biggest drug-trafficking operations, can expect to be kept in a special unit inside the drab 12-story Metropolitan Correctional Center, where such other high-profile, high-risk inmates as Gambino crime family boss John Gotti and several former…
  • 38 hospitalized after nightclub fire in Romanian capital

    World News CTV News
    BUCHAREST, Romania -- Authorities say 38 people have received hospital treatment after a fire broke out at a popular nightclub in the Romanian capital. The fire erupted early Saturday at the upmarket Bamboo nightclub in northern Bucharest. Source
  • Vancouver-area peak named for deceased search and rescue volunteer

    Canada News CTV News
    VANCOUVER - A mountain peak on British Columbia's North Shore is being named in honour of a long-time leader in the province's search and rescue community. Premier Christy Clark has announced a 1,425-metre peak northeast of North Vancouver will be called Tim Jones Peak. Source
  • Police were hoping to rescue Likneses and Nathan O'Brien at Garland family farm, court hears [Video]

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    Police conducted a frantic search of Douglas Garland's family farm in hopes of rescuing a Calgary couple and their grandson who had disappeared days earlier, court heard Friday. But Calgary police homicide Det. Mike Shute, who helped arrange the raid by the RCMP's emergency response team, said no one was found, dead, or alive, during the July 4, 2014, search. Source
  • Canadian caught with nearly 60 kilos of cocaine sentenced to 10 years in U.S.

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    A 37-year-old Canadian who was caught with 59 kilos of cocaine has been sentenced to 10 years in jail in U.S. District Court in Seattle. The U.S. Department of Justice said Friday that Martin Briand, who is also a French citizen, was sentenced for conspiracy to distribute cocaine after the cocaine was seized in December 2009. Source
  • Women's March on Washington about much more than Trump

    World News CTV News
    Hundreds of thousands of women plan to march through the streets of the U.S. capital on President Donald Trump’s first full day in office, to send a bold message to the new administration: women’s rights are human rights, and the divisive tone of the campaign will not be tolerated in the nation’s highest office. Source
  • Canada's last Armenian genocide survivor dies at age 107

    Canada News CTV News
    A Montreal woman believed to have been the last Canadian to have survived the Armenian genocide died on Thursday, just weeks shy of her 108th birthday. Born in 1909, Knar Bohjelian Yemenidjian was only six years old in 1915 when the Ottoman Turks began their massacre. Source