CALGARY — The defence in Dustin Paxton’s torture trial focused final arguments Friday on what it called the alleged victim’s “vague and inconsistent” testimony.
Jim Lutz was in the third day of his attempts to question the credibility of each and every Crown witness in a trial that began over two months ago.
Paxton is charged with aggravated assault, sexual assault and forcible confinement and has pleaded not guilty. It’s alleged he beat and tortured his former roommate and business partner over a two-year period.
The 28-year-old alleged man, whose name is under a court-order publication ban, testified that he was starved, humiliated and beaten — sometimes severely — on an almost daily basis and forced to perform sexual favours for Paxton. Court heard the man was battered, bruised and emaciated when he was dropped off at a Regina hospital in April 2010.
“He talks in general terms. He was assaulted every day. He was injured all the time,” said Lutz.
But the alleged victim was unable to provide any detail and his testimony was peppered with “I don’t know,” “I don’t remember” and “I have no recollection,” the lawyer said.
“It is hard for the court to assess the reliability of his testimony. That randomness is the undoing,” he suggested.
“The reliability factor makes it suspect.”
Lutz said there isn’t any way to tie the individual’s physical injuries to his client
“There is no evidence that supports that. That in itself ought to raise reasonable doubt.”
As for the charge of sexual assault, Lutz said his client never asked his roommate to do anything, never touched him and completely denies that anything happened.
Lutz also said Robert Cannon, a key witness who testified he saw Paxton beat the alleged victim with a one-metre-long bamboo stick, has been proven to be nothing more than “a liar and a thief” who would break down and cry when the questioning got tough.
Cannon’s memory was shaky and he was unable to keep his story straight, Lutz said, who also suggested lead investigator Det. Doug Crippen “contaminated witnesses” by telling them that others were corroborating their stories.