Paxton judge tells defence to stop wasting court time

Court of Queen's Bench Justice Sheilah Martin essentially told defence lawyer Michael Bates to stop wasting the court's time and to do his job during a stay of proceedings hearing that could result in charges being suspended against accused torturer Dustin Paxton.

The judge in the Dustin Paxton torture trial had some harsh words for the defence Friday.

Paxton is accused of physically and sexually assaulting his former roommate and business partner over an 18-month period starting in October 2008. The alleged victim cannot be named under a court order.

Paxton's lawyers are trying to prove that he didn't get a fair trial and that a stay of proceedings should be granted — a move that could see charges of aggravated assault, sexual assault and unlawful confinement against the accused suspended.

Court of Queen's Bench Justice Sheilah Martin told defence lawyer Michael Bates to stop wasting the court's time and to do his job in the stay of proceedings hearing.

Bates told the court he was unsure whether to call a paralegal secretary for the Crown in the Paxton trial as a witness at the hearing because he was unsure what she would say. 

Justice Martin interrupted Bates and said, "You say you don't know sir, your job is to learn."

Martin gave Bates until 2 p.m. MT to figure out his next move, adding "it is time to make appropriate use of court time."

Earlier Friday, a court sheriff testified he was not influenced by the Crown in his decision not to arrest Robert Cannon.

Cannon was a key witness for the Crown who was wanted on outstanding charges. Sheriff Ian Black said he used his own discretion when he decided not to detain Cannon.

Black testified that prosecutor Joe Mercier told him during a break in court proceedings that he's not going to arrest anyone.

Mercier made the comment after Paxton's lawyer told the sheriff, "You know he has warrants, are you going to arrest him?"

Day 3 of hearing testimony

On Thursday, the hearing heard from a Calgary prosecutor who said she was asked to deal with outstanding charges against Cannon in a quick manner before he was scheduled to appear as a witness.

Margot Engley told the court she refused to handle the file given to her by Mercier, who is her direct supervisor, on the charges facing Cannon because she thought it should be dealt with by an independent prosecutor. She said there is a protocol to follow when dealing with a Crown witness.

Engley testified Mercier said Cannon was told he wouldn't get any jail time for the offences, which included charges of theft, breach of recognizance and failure to appear, but no promises were made.

Cannon was flown to Calgary by the prosecution in exchange for his testimony against Paxton. The defence alleges a special deal was in place to take care of Cannon's unresolved charges.

Two other witnesses testified that they saw a Calgary police detective direct and signal to Cannon while he was testifying in court. In cross-examination, Crown representatives said the officer's "nodding" could have been due to checking a BlackBerry or looking at a notebook in his lap.

A University of Calgary law student was the first person in the witness box for the hearing Wednesday afternoon. She also testified she saw the detective directing and communicating with Cannon during the trial.