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

  • Israel faces potential deadlock in a closely contested vote

    World News CTV News
    JERUSALEM -- Israel is headed toward an unprecedented repeat election on Tuesday with no guarantee that the do-over vote will produce a more decisive result than the inconclusive one last April. The Israeli electorate is deeply divided along religious, ethnic and ideological lines and the fragmented parliamentary system makes coalition building a tricky business. Source
  • Indonesian police arrest 185 suspected of starting forest fires

    World News CBC News
    Indonesian authorities arrested 185 people suspected of starting the forest fires that are spreading a thick, noxious haze around Southeast Asia, police said Monday. Indonesia and neighbouring countries in Southeast Asia are regularly hit by smoky haze from slash-and-burn clearances of forests for timber and palm oil plantations, but conditions this year have been the worst since 2015 due to an El Niño weather pattern causing an extended dry spell. Source
  • U.S. strike against GM threatens Canadian plants

    Canada News CBC News
    As 49,000 United Auto Workers in the U.S. strike against General Motors, there's a risk the walkout could shut down GM Canada's plants and auto-parts makers in Ontario. GM Canada says it is monitoring the situation closely for any impact to Canadian operations. Source
  • The Weather Network predicts average fall, cold winter ahead

    Canada News CTV News
    Canadians can expect average temperatures this fall that will give way to a cold winter in central and eastern parts of the country, according to The Weather Network. The network is predicting Western Canada, including B.C. Source
  • Toronto homeowner with nut allergy fights for removal of walnut tree in backyard

    Canada News CTV News
    A homeowner with a nut allergy will find out on Monday if an application to remove a walnut tree from the property’s backyard has been approved. According to City of Toronto documents, the North York resident has been fighting to remove the tree since 2017 after an initial bid was rejected. Source
  • U.S. bomb-sniffing dogs sent to Jordan now dying from poor treatment

    World News CTV News
    Bomb-sniffing dogs sent from the United States to its Middle Eastern ally Jordan are falling ill and dying due to poor treatment and negligence, a federal investigation has found. A year-long evaluation by inspectors at the U.S. Source
  • Mark Ruffalo smashes Boris Johnson's Hulk comparison

    World News CTV News
    Mark Ruffalo, the actor who plays the anger-prone Hulk in the "Avengers" movie franchise, has struck out at U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson for suggesting Britain could break free of the EU's "manacles," like the Marvel superhero. Source
  • Black college, Papa John's blame each other over lost funds

    World News CTV News
    LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- A US$1 million donation by the disgraced founder of Papa John's pizza to a historically black college has prompted the school to give up $20,000 in scholarships from the company. The Courier Journal reports that only hours after John Schnatter announced his donation to Simmons College, the school's development director declined the company's pledge to help 10 students with $2,000 each toward tuition. Source
  • Israeli PM vows to annex 'all the settlements' in West Bank

    World News CTV News
    JERUSALEM -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed Monday to annex "all the settlements" in the West Bank, including an enclave deep in the heart of the largest Palestinian city, in a last-ditch move that appeared aimed at shoring up nationalist support the day before a do-over election. Source
  • Liberals to re-record French version of campaign theme song after hitting sour note

    Canada News CBC News
    Are the Liberals removing one hand for tomorrow? That's what some say the new French-language version of the federal party's theme song implies. The English version of One Hand Up, recorded by The Strumbellas, goes, "We can hold one hand up for tomorrow. Source