Witness gets heated at trial

There was some heated testimony at Steven Pirko's murder trial Friday during the cross examination of Pirko's long-time friend.

The second-degree murder trial entered its 18th day of the Crown's evidence submissions, with the defence's cross examination of Crown witness Elrich Dyck.

The Crown says Dyck had been losing a fight with Chris Ausman in the early hours of Jan. 25, 2014, when Pirko struck Ausman in the head with a hammer, killing him.

Under cross examination by defence counsel Jordan Watt, Dyck, admitted he had feared for his life while he was being hit by Ausman, but he noted Pirko could have taken other steps to stop Ausman.

“He could have went up and grabbed him, he could have tried talking to him, he could have pushed him, he could have done something other than what he did,” Dyck said.

Dyck's reliability as a witness was put into question under cross examination, as Watt noted several examples of Dyck's testimony that conflicted with his testimony at the case's preliminary inquiry in January 2018, and with what he told police upon his arrest in November 2016.

On Thursday, Dyck claimed he didn't know Pirko was carrying a hammer on the night of Ausman's death, but a recording from the preliminary inquiry contradicted this.

“That didn't sound like me at all. That wasn't me,” Dyck said after the recording was played in court.

When Watt showed a transcript from a police interview with Dyck, in which Dycks states Pirko went back and checked on Ausman as he lay on the concrete, Dyck said the transcript was wrong.

Dyck's testimony in cross examination even contradicted his testimony from the day before. When Watt asked him about his testimony Thursday that he had never "blacked out" from drinking, Dyck said: "I've blacked out lots in my lifetime."

In reference to his statement Thursday about being hit by Ausman seven times, Dyck denied he had said this, becoming somewhat incoherent in his response. 

“I'm going to get really upset here, like why am I being questioned like this,” Dyck said. “I got no life now, it's getting ruined, because somebody's f***ing black magic s**t. And I got to deal with it too."

After Dyck noted that a document he was handed “smelled like f***ing dirty bacon,” Justice Allan Betton told him “it would be helpful if you could just try to answer the questions.”

Following Dyck's testimony Friday, Justice Betton instructed the jury about how to deal with conflicting evidence from the same person.

“You must not use the earlier statements of evidence as to what actually happened unless you conclude that Mr. Dyck accepted them as true in the witness box,” Justice Betton said. “Even then, as with any evidence, you will have to decide whether and how much to rely on it.”

Justice Betton added that Dyck's prior criminal record, which was revealed to the jury Thursday, can be used to assess his credibility.

The trial continues Monday.

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