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Frightened witness testifies at trial of Calgary homicide suspect

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Her testimony was peppered with lengthy pauses and I don’t remembers.

And when Trista Tinkler did give proof Friday of what she remembered of the small print surrounding the killing of Calgary Uber driver Kasif Hirani it was in a mushy, monotone voice.

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However beneath examination of Crown prosecutor Britta Kristensen, Tinkler did handle to implicate Robert Daignault within the botched theft previous the demise of Hirani on a abandoned rural street close to the Springbank Airport west of Calgary.

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Tinkler mentioned Daignault was on the wheel of Hirani’s automotive after the Uber driver was made to relinquish his key and was pressured to surrender his financial institution and bank card PINs as he was pushed out of the town, with the accused, the witness and alleged confederate Andrew Christal.

However the witness, who’s serving a six-year sentence for manslaughter within the case, was extraordinarily imprecise about particulars across the essential second when Hirani left his personal automotive and was repeatedly stabbed earlier than being left to die by the aspect of the street.

Daignault, 56, is charged with first-degree homicide within the Dec. 29, 2019, killing of Hirani.

Robert Gordon Daignault
Robert Gordon Daignault has already been in custody for greater than three years since his arrest on Jan. 4, 2020. Photograph by RCMP Photograph

It’s the idea of Kristensen and co-prosecutor Alyx Nanji that the plan to rob Hirani additionally included ending his life, or the Uber driver was being unlawfully confined when he was killed, both of which might help a first-degree homicide conviction.

Earlier than Tinkler took the witness stand, Kristensen requested Justice Eleanor Funk to permit her to testify remotely by way of CCTV from one other room within the courthouse.

The prosecutor mentioned her witness was “afraid of Mr. Daignault” and could be too emotionally distraught to present proof in his presence.

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However the Court docket of King’s Bench decide agreed with defence counsel Andrea Urquhart that it was vital for the witness to look in individual to have her correctly cross-examined.

When Tinkler initially took the stand Friday afternoon following Funk’s ruling, she was in a position to reply a couple of of Kristensen’s questions, though ensuring she confronted away from the prisoner’s field the place Daignault sat.

However because the prosecutor requested for particulars main as much as the drive out of the town Tinkler clammed up, sobbing when Funk urged she must reply the questions.

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After an adjournment to permit the witness to compose herself, Kristensen resumed questioning Tinkler, typically interspersing innocuous inquiries with extra pointed ones.

Tinkler testified she by no means bought out of Hirani’s automotive from the time they left a Calgary residence till their return to the town, when the sufferer was already lifeless.

“Do you recall being alone at any time in that automobile?” Kristensen requested, about proof that would corroborate Christal’s declare he and Daignault bought out and the accused repeatedly stabbed Hirani.

“Probably,” Tinkler mentioned.

“And at any time whilst you have been in that automobile do you recall listening to screaming?” Kristensen mentioned.

“Probably,” the witness repeated.

The prosecutor then requested when Tinkler “presumably” heard screaming, “do you have got any recall of who was screaming?”

“Kasif,” Tinker mentioned.

Her testimony continues on Tuesday.


X: @KMartinCourts

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