Testimony ends in Verma trial
Oct 8, 2013 / 3:46 pm
Testimony at Joelon Verma’s first-degree murder trial came to an end on Tuesday without the accused taking the stand in his own defence, or his legal team calling any witnesses.
The crown rested its case following four weeks of witness testimony, and the defence team of Alexander and Jordan Watt quickly announced to Justice Alison Beames they would not be calling any evidence and instead proceed to closing arguments Wednesday morning.
The 14-person jury will arrive at 10 a.m. and sit through submissions from both sides, before receiving final instructions from Justice Beames. Two alternate members of the jury will be sent home and the original 12 jury members will retire to their room for deliberations until a consensus can be reached.
Crown counsel wrapped up its case with strong testimony from Sgt. Sam Ghadban, an RCMP officer who was working as part of a special interview team. He recorded audio of a conversation he and his partner had with Verma outside the Landmark buildings on June 10, 2010.
On the tape, which was played in court, Verma is heard saying he does not want to talk at the police station and the whole situation is upsetting both him and his family – including a wife that was pregnant at the time.
He admits to a scheduled meeting with Irving on April 6 2010, but says she never showed up and stopped responding to his text messages around mid-day.
Verma told the officers he had been “out of the game” for three years by that point and repeatedly told them he had nothing to do with Irving’s disappearance.
Ghadban can be heard informing Verma that both he and Mike Roberts are suspects, but officers wanted to give Verma a chance to quell the rumours and explain why he wasn’t involved.
“It’s not that hard to figure out what’s going on,” Verma is heard saying. “It’s got nothing to do with me. I’m just a small fry.”
He then goes on to explain that Irving was scared for her life, and while they were not really good friends, she was “good shit” and that’s why he agreed to get her a hotel room in his name.
The two officers are heard congratulating him on answering their questions, pointing out that red flags would have been raised if he had initially refused to speak with them.
When they finally ask him for help on where to concentrate their investigative efforts, Verma tells them to look into Irving’s other dealings, including a drug bust in the months before her disappearance which resulted in lost product and expenses.
“Bigger people are involved,” Verma says, noting he and Irving would move a “couple pounds” of marijuana sometimes, but nothing more.
The talk then turns to Roberts and his pickup truck, which the crown alleges Verma borrowed and used while killing Irving. Officers ask if he was in the vehicle April 6, to which Verma replies ‘No’, but admits he has been in the truck before. Ghadban then asks if the RCMP should shift their focus to Roberts, and Verma immediately answers ‘No’, referring to him as “good shit.”
“You guys will figure it out,” Verma is heard saying throughout the impromptu interview. “Pay attention to what’s going on in the drug world.”
At one point during the meeting that lasted approximately 20 minutes, he rhetorically asks the officers, “You think I’m that fucking stupid?” He then answers his own question, “I’m an educated man.”
The interview ends with Verma telling officers to call him anytime, because he’ll drop everything to come see them.
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