Nunavut court: still no end in sight for Dejaeger trial

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Judge hears third evidence application from Crown

NEWS: Nunavut March 19, 2014 – 4:53 pm

DAVID MURPHY

Eric Dejaeger is escorted into the Nunavut Court of Justice March 19. His trial will likely be adjourned again on March 20. (PHOTO BY DAVID MURPHY)
Eric Dejaeger is escorted into the Nunavut Court of Justice March 19. His trial will likely be adjourned again on March 20. (PHOTO BY DAVID MURPHY)

The trial of ex-Nunavut priest Eric Dejaeger will likely adjourn for a third time as lawyers continue to wrangle over the admission of certain pieces of evidence.

The court was supposed to hear final arguments and conclude the trial by March 21, but that doesn’t look possible now.

That’s because Crown prosecutors presented Justice Robert Kilpatrick with a third application March 19 to have the court consider certain evidence.

In this one, Crown prosecutor Barry Nordin seeks permission to have what’s called similar fact evidence admitted in the case.

Similar fact evidence uses each complainant’s testimony to corroborate testimony made by other complainants.

Put simply, the Crown wants to combine all the evidence into one package.

In doing so, the Crown would argue that all 41 complainants aren’t fabricating their evidence and that the similar allegations against Dejaeger are not the result of coincidence.

If Kilpatrick denies the request, the Crown would have to prove that Dejaeger is guilty on each individual charge laid against him.

The application would support the reliability of all the witnesses, Nordin said.

Nordin said in court that all the testimonies aren’t a coincidence, and it’s not collusion — “it’s just what happened.”

He said there are 21 male complainants 20 female — most of whom, with two exceptions, were children aged four to 16 when the offences were alleged to have occurred.

Of them, 21 allege Dejaeger touched them under their clothes — and 19 allege he touched them over their clothes.

There are 11 allegations of rape, including anal or vaginal intercourse.

Dejaeger remained calm during the proceedings, often whispering to his lawyer.

The defence is expected to reply to the application March 20. After that, Kilpatrick must make a decision on it.

Kilpatrick and lawyers will also talk about when the trial will continue.

Dejaeger has been in pre-trial custody since January 2011.

Earlier this week, Kilpatrick denied two other Crown requests for permission to use certain types of evidence.

2 Responses to Nunavut court: still no end in sight for Dejaeger trial

  1. Sylvia says:

    I have never thought that testimony already in evidence at a trial could somehow become similar fact evidence. I could see the similar fact evidence being the evidence of victims from previous trials, or the evidence from victims who have never come forward.

    So, I have been looking online to try to get a handle on this – it’s not making any sense. Here is an external link with a pretty good explanation of similar fact evidence,

    If anyone can further explain what is happening here please do.

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