Man denies helping son flee Canada

Jonathan David Meer, accused of masterminding a wave of violence against his business associates three years ago, has denied he helped his son escape justice
Jonathan David Meer, in a court sketch. ((CBC))
A man accused of masterminding a wave of violence against his business associates three years ago denied during his trial Thursday that he helped his son escape justice.

Jonathan David (Dave) Meer, 48, is on trial in Alberta Court of Queen's Bench on 15 criminal charges, including extortion and conspiracy to commit arson. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Meer's son, Christopher, 26, is wanted in the same case. Police believe he is in Mexico or the United States.

In the Edmonton court, the judge listened to wiretapped phone calls between Meer and his son from April 2008, after the younger Meer is believed to have fled the country.

Dave Meer is heard making arrangements to send money. He warns his son not to mention geographic locations and tells him to keep in touch.

Meer testified he has no idea where his son is.

He agreed with a suggestion by Crown prosecutor Susan Mulligan that he doesn't want police to capture his son. However, he rejected the idea he wants his son to stay on the run to protect himself.

Denies any involvement

Since the trial started last month, the judge has heard that Meer lived a lavish lifestyle but found himself heavily in debt. His company had been placed in receivership and a bank was trying to recover some of his assets.

Edmonton Police are looking for Christopher Meer, 26. They suspect Meer may have altered his appearance since this photo was taken. ((Edmonton Police Service))
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 and his son's friend were responsible for the crime wave.

The friend, Dustin Pisesky, 27, pleaded guilty to extortion and arson and has already served his sentence.

Christopher Meer was the subject of an episode of the television show America's Most Wanted earlier this year.

The Edmonton Police Commission has offered a $25,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.

With files from the CBC's Janice Johnston