POLITICS

Key witness testifies at fisherman's second-degree murder trial in Cape Breton

11/24/2014 06:27 EST | Updated 01/24/2015 05:59 EST
PORT HAWKESBURY, N.S. - A crew member aboard a fishing boat told a murder trial in Cape Breton on Monday that Phillip Boudreau was shot at and hooked with a fishing gaff after the captain suspected him of "playing" with their lobster traps.

Craig Landry testified at the murder trial of Joseph James Landry, who has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in Boudreau's death.

The captain of the Twin Maggies suspected Boudreau had been tampering with their lobster traps before they steamed towards his boat at full speed on June 1, 2013, Craig Landry told the jury trial in the Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Port Hawkesbury.

Craig Landry said after spotting Boudreau on the water, Dwayne Matthew Samson said in French: "It must be Phillip. Keep an eye on him. ... He must be playing with the traps again."

Craig Landry testified that Samson then said, "He's going to get a scare this time," before asking Joseph James Landry to shoot at Boudreau.

"James knelt down on one knee against the (wheel)house and pulled the trigger," said Craig Landry, who earlier said that he and Joseph James Landry are third cousins and that he has known him for his whole life.

Craig Landry said Boudreau pleaded for Joseph James Landry to stop firing at him, yelling, "Stop, James. Stop."

"Phillip said he wasn't doing anything, he wasn't cutting any traps," said Craig Landry. "He said, 'Stop James. You broke my leg.'"

Craig Landry said Boudreau's boat was then rammed several times in Cape Breton's Petit de Grat harbour by the Twin Maggies before Joseph James Landry hooked Boudreau with a fishing gaff and dragged him out to sea.

Craig Landry told the jury the gaff slipped several times. He said at one point, Joseph James Landry lifted up the gaff to find Boudreau's sweater. Craig Landry said Joseph James Landry hooked Boudreau again.

Prosecutor Steve Drake said in his opening statement earlier this month that the three-man crew aboard the Twin Maggies later tied an anchor to Boudreau's neck and upper arms after his body turned face down in the water, dropping him in an area with a water depth of about 22 metres. The body of the 43-year-old man has never been found.

Boudreau's defence lawyer focused Monday on a false statement that Craig Landry gave to police about Boudreau's disappearance.

Court heard that Craig Landry initially told investigators the Twin Maggies had a "run-in" with Boudreau in the fog a few days prior to June 1, 2013. But Craig Landry testified Monday that it was a made-up story that he heard in the furnace room at the home of Carla and Dwayne Samson, who are also charged in the case, on the same day Boudreau vanished.

Craig Landry said he repeated what he was told to say to police, who arrested him five days after Boudreau disappeared. Landry performed a re-enactment of the incident while he was still in custody, court heard.

In his cross-examination of Craig Landry, defence lawyer Luke Craggs identified 14 times where he wasn't truthful with police, keeping a tally of the lies that Landry acknowledges on an easel in black marker. Among those lies was that the Twin Maggies crew hadn't seen Boudreau on June 1, 2013.

Craig Landry originally faced a second-degree murder charge but that was withdrawn. He now faces a charge of accessory after the fact in the case.

Samson also faces a second-degree murder charge. His wife Carla faces a charge of accessory after the fact.

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