A man accused of extortion and conspiracy to commit arson told an Edmonton court Tuesday his son admitted he and a friend burned a man's home and cottage to the ground three years ago.
Jonathan David (Dave) Meer, 48, was testifying at his trial on 15 criminal charges, including extortion and conspiracy to commit arson. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
In his testimony, Meer denied he had anything to do with the crimes, and called his son Christopher and his friend, Dustin Pisesky, "loose cannons."
"They behaved irrationally," he told the judge. "Like a couple of little terrorists, I guess."
He added: "They never followed any of my orders. I didn't give orders. I wouldn't authorize anything so stupid. "
After the young men told him what happened, Meer said he passed on advice from his lawyer — "Shut up. Don't talk to cops."
Chris Meer, 26, is still at large. Police believe he may have fled to Mexico or the United States. Pisesky, 27, pleaded guilty to extortion and arson and has already served his sentence.
The Crown alleges Meer masterminded the plots to get back at former business associate Ron Simpson and several others, and Chris Meer and Pisesky acted as his "foot soldiers."
Meer heavily in debt, Crown says
Meer is accused of coming up with the plot to set fire to homes belonging to Simpson in Edmonton and Pigeon Lake in 2007 in an attempt to extort money. Simpson had loaned Meer more than $1 million and had filed a lawsuit to get that money back.
With Simpson looking on from the gallery, Meer denied he had anything to do with the fire at Simpson's cabin.
He was then asked to describe how he felt about Simpson.
"Dislike, disgust," Meer replied, adding that his son hated Simpson.
Since Dave Meer's trial started last month, the judge has been told he lived a lavish lifestyle. Meer owned a number of luxury vehicles which included a Range Rover, a Porsche, a Hummer and a Jaguar. He also had homes in Kelowna and Edmonton.
However, Meer was heavily in debt. His company had been placed in receivership and the bank was trying to recover some of his assets.
Simpson's lawyer, the bank manager and the receiver with PriceWaterhouseCoopers had the windows of their homes shot out. One of the men also had his garage set on fire, the court heard.
Meer will be cross-examined on Wednesday.