The former assistant of a man accused of the bombing death of a young Innisfail woman has taken the stand in Red Deer’s Court of Queen’s Bench in recent days.
Brian Malley, 57, is charged with first-degree murder, causing an explosion of an explosive substance likely to cause serious bodily harm, death or serious damage to property and sending or delivering to a person an explosive device in relation to the death of Victoria Shachtay in 2011.
The charges stem after an explosion occurred inside Shachtay’s Innisfail residence in November 2011. The incident occurred after a package disguised as a Christmas gift was delivered to the home which RCMP confirmed was the source of the explosion.
Malley was arrested in Red Deer on May 25th, 2012.
Shachtay, 23, was disabled and in a wheelchair from a car collision that happened in 2004. She was also a single mother to a then seven-year-old girl.
RCMP have confirmed Malley had known Shachtay for a number of years and acted as her financial adviser.
Barbara Tblus, who worked as Malley’s assistant at Assante Capital Management Inc. in Red Deer from June 2009 until shortly after his arrest in May 2012, testified in court last Friday and again on Monday.
When asked by Crown Prosecutor Anders Quist if Tblus had received any calls from Shachtay, she began to get emotional on the stand.
“She called the office every couple of months and came to the office a couple of times. She was curt and upset because the money was not in her account,” she said, adding when she called she needed her money immediately.
Tblus said when most clients phoned the office and would request money out of their account, they would give ample time for processing to take place.
“They would be going on a trip and need it in a couple of weeks.”
She added Shachtay also came into the office a couple of times to speak with Malley.
“She looked unkempt – she had dirty hair.”
Tblus said Malley and his wife commented on Shachtay’s appearance in a negative way.
“His attitude towards Victoria was that he didn’t like her very much. He was annoyed by her – the constant calls asking for money.”
After Malley’s arrest in May 2012, Tblus said she was supportive of him and gave a positive statement to the police. In another statement to police in January 2013, her statement had changed.
Defense lawyer Bob Aloneissi asked her why she had a change of opinion seven months later.
“I had a good opinion of Mr. Malley but that opinion changed because of many things that transpired over a period of time that showed his character and the person that he really was,” she said.
“I’m not on team Malley anymore because he fricking killed her for Christ’s sake.”
Justice Kirk Sisson told Tblus to keep herself under control on the stand. “Your opinion does not have weight in this trial,” he said.
“Christine (Malley’s wife) was my best friend. I looked up to Brian. They ripped my world apart. I thought they were good people and I found out that they were not good people – they ripped a lot of people off,” she said.
Aloneissi asked Tblus how she knew that the Malley’s “Ripped people off” and she said she did not know personally that they had done so. “I have no knowledge of that,” she added.
Meanwhile, Linda Howes, a senior forensic accountant, also took the stand last week. She was assigned to the case in August 2013 to look at the movement of funds between Malley and Shachtay. After her accident in 2004, Shachtay received a $575,000 settlement and Malley helped her invest it. A $200,000 loan was also taken out on behalf of Shachtay as well. All of that money was gone in four years. Quist also said after the settlement money was gone, Malley supported Shachtay from his own personal accounts to the tune of $44,000.
“There were net losses in every year with the majority of losses in the last two months of 2008,” she said.
The trial continues this week.