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Crown wraps Foerster case

After six days of testimony the Crown has rested.

The Crown Counsel team made up of Iain Currie and Frank Caputo concluded their case Tuesday morning in the Matthew Foerster first-degree murder trial, after hearing from the emergency room doctor who cared for Taylor Van Diest.

Dr. Michael Concannon was on duty at Vernon Jubilee Hospital when Taylor was admitted on Oct.31, 2011. He told the court it was a busy emergency room shift that night, and the team had been notified ahead of time that an unconscious teen was to be admitted.

All he knew at the time was the girl was coming from Armstrong and had been found near some railroad tracks. With little more known about the incident, Concannon says he had mentally prepared himself for a drunken person who had been struck by a train.

When Taylor was brought into the trauma room she was laying on a spine board and unable to breathe on her own. Concannon told the court what he first saw was a “gravely injured young woman,” dressed up for Halloween.

He quickly noticed ligature marks around her neck, but Concannon says the costume makeup of her zombie Halloween costume made determining the extent of her injuries challenging.

He says Taylor also had both dried and fresh blood in her hair and at the back of her head, the result of a traumatic brain injury which Concannon rated as a 3, or at the most severe point on the scale of these types of injuries.

In addition to the ligature marks and head injuries, Concannon told the court he also noticed trauma to her face, head and neck – the latter of which was consistent with an asphyxiation injury.

Concannon also noted issues with Taylor’s pupils. One was sluggish in responding to light and the other did not move much at all. He told the court this is evidence of severe brain trauma.

While at the hospital, Taylor was hooked up to an incubator and put on a ventilator, even going into cardiac arrest at one point before succumbing to her injuries.

When asked by Crown whether anything could have been done to save her life, Concannon responded that preventing the trauma injuries in the first place would have been the only thing.

The only other witness to be heard from on Tuesday was Cst. Tyler Bell who took part in many aspects of the case, but spent most of his time telling the court about the environment and lighting conditions of the crime scene when Taylor was attacked.

He says daylight was quickly diminishing towards dusk and that the change was quite drastic between 6 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 2, two days after the crime was committed, and around the same time Taylor is believed to have been attacked.

After the crown wrapped its case, the jury was excused until Thursday morning.

In the meantime Justice Peter Rogers and both counsels will discuss technical aspects of the case before Foerster’s lawyer Lisa Helps makes a decision on whether or not to call any witnesses.

Foerster has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder, but has admitted causing the injuries which led to Taylor's death.

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