Jonathan David Meer is shown in a court sketch. ((CBC))

Accused extortionist Jonathan David Meer was combative as he was cross-examined by the Crown prosecutor Wednesday during his trial.

Meer, 48, is on trial for 15 criminal charges, including extortion and conspiracy to commit arson. He has pleaded not guilty.

The exchange between Meer and Crown prosecutor Susan Mulligan was testy. At one point, Meer called his trial a "dog and pony show"

"It's actually a trial, sir. The administration of justice," Mulligan replied.

"That's a matter of opinion," he retorted.

In another exchange, he asked Mulligan if the questions she was asking were "for the press." He also later accused her of wanting to "distort things".

Since Meer's trial started last month, the judge has been told he lived a lavish lifestyle. Meer owned a number of luxury vehicles, including a Range Rover, a Porsche, a Hummer and a Jaguar. He also had homes in Kelowna and Edmonton.

Meer was heavily in debt. His company had been placed in receivership and the bank was trying to recover some of his assets.

Meer is accused of coming up with the plot to set fire in 2007 to homes in Edmonton and Pigeon Lake belonging to Ron Simpson. Simpson had loaned Meer more than $1 million and filed a lawsuit to get that money back

The windows were shot out in the homes of Simpson's lawyer, the bank manager and the receiver with PriceWaterhouseCoopers. One of the men also had his garage set on fire, the court heard.

Meer has denied he had anything to do with committing or directing the crimes. On Tuesday, Meer told the court his son Chris and his son's friend were responsible.




With files from Janice Johnston