POLITICS

Expert testifies about bullet holes in boat of missing fisherman at murder trial

11/17/2014 02:26 EST | Updated 01/17/2015 05:59 EST
PORT HAWKESBURY, N.S. - The trial of a man accused in the death of a Cape Breton fisherman whose body hasn't been found heard an RCMP firearms expert explain Monday how four bullets penetrated Phillip Boudreau's speedboat.

RCMP civilian firearms expert Joseph Prendergast told the second-degree murder trial of Joseph James Landry that Boudreau's boat was shot at from different angles, based on his analysis of bullet holes, residue and fibres.

"There was evidence there that there was damage caused by four bullets," said Prendergast before drawing a diagram for the jury of where the bullets damaged the four-metre, fibreglass boat.

Prendergast, who has more than 20 years experience as a firearms expert, said he also recovered a bullet from inside the boat during his analysis.

"The bullet that was recovered I believe (came from) a rifle," he told the Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Port Hawkesbury, N.S.

Last week, the Crown told a jury that Boudreau, 43, died as a result of a sustained attack by a three-man lobster fishing crew on board the Twin Maggies.

Crown prosecutor Steve Drake said the Twin Maggies rammed Boudreau's boat three times at the mouth of Petit de Grat harbour on June 1, 2013. He said Landry fired four shots from a rifle, one of which hit Boudreau's leg.

Boudreau's boat overturned after it was rammed the third time and he was then hooked with a gaff and dragged out to sea, Drake said.

Landry, 67, of Little Anse has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in the Boudreau's death. He is one of four people charged in the case.

Const. Tom McLeod, incident commander for the RCMP dive team that was tasked with finding Boudreau, told the trial that his team found the motor from Boudreau's boat on June 2, 2013, the day after he disappeared.

McLeod said based on the location of the motor and a number of other factors including wind and current speeds, the team searched an area of Mackerel Cove and they expected to find a body.

"If the current is moving at .5 knots, it will move a victim along the bottom," he said. "The body was not there."

McLeod testified that Boudreau's body was never found, including after the team searched a different area following a re-enactment.

Police had launched an extensive search of the area that only turned up Boudreau's black and teal baseball-style cap on the shoreline and his green rubber fishing boots in water, about 20 metres off shore, Drake said.

Sgt. Kevin Mallay, an RCMP expert in computer forensic analysis, said data from a navigational plotter aboard the Twin Maggies showed that the boat had been in and around Isle Madame and Petit de Grat harbour, but none of the locations had a date stamp.

The Crown said Boudreau was last seen by his brother near the Petit de Grat wharf on June 1, 2013, just before 6 a.m. Drake said Boudreau took his red and white speedboat out on the water and it was found overturned without its motor by a local fisherman about one hour later.

Judge Joseph Kennedy told the jury they will view Boudreau's badly damaged boat Tuesday morning in a parking bay at the courthouse.

Follow @alythomson on Twitter.