Man duped into driving girl to her death: lawyer

A man on trial for sexual assaulting and murdering a 13-year-old girl was just an unwitting "dupe" manipulated into driving a group of teenagers out of town so they could kill her, his lawyer argued Tuesday.

A man on trial for sexual assaulting and murdering a 13-year-old girl was simply an unwitting "dupe" in the crime, his lawyer argued Tuesday.

In delivering his closing arguments, Charles Davison told the trial in the Court of Queen's Bench that even if Michael Briscoe knew about a plan to kill Nina Courtepatte, the worst he should be found guilty of is manslaughter.

Joseph Laboucan, 21, and Michael Briscoe, 36, are on trial for the kidnapping, aggravated sexual assault and first-degree murder of Nina Courtepatte in April 2005. ((CBC News))

Briscoe, 36,and Joseph Laboucan, 21,are accused of first-degree murder, aggravated sexual assault and kidnapping.

Laboucan's lawyer will begin his closing arguments on Wednesday morning.

It's alleged the men helped pick Courtepatte at random from West Edmonton Mall, invited her and her friend to join them at a party and then drove her and three youths to a golf course where she was raped twice and beaten to death on April 3, 2005.

'Unfolding before he was even there'

When Briscoeparked the vehiclethat night, there was no indication a murder was minutes away from happening, Davison said: "He had no reason to believe that anyone in the car was at risk from anyone else."

Briscoe stayed behind while the others got out, Davison said, because he didn't want to take part in a party that would include drugs and teenage sex. When he left the car later to rejoin the group, Courtepatte had already been attacked, Davison said.

"Things were already happening, events were already unfolding before he was even there."

Accused knew of plan: Crown

Nina Courtepatte's bruised and bloody body was found on the Edmonton Springs golf course in April 2005. ((CBC))

Crown lawyers argued Monday that two men knew what was going to happen and must be found guilty.

Prosecutor John Watson suggested in his closing arguments that Laboucan and Briscoe had plenty of time to think about what to do, and it didn't matter who struck the fatal blow.

Watson argued the two men knew of a plan to pick a girl at random from West Edmonton Mall and persuade her to join a group on the promise of a party, but did nothing to prevent the murder.

Watson told the judge hearing the case that it's not enough of a defence for Briscoe to say he didn't want Courtepatte killed.

The prosecutor also said Briscoe willingly drove the victim to a secluded area with her attackers, and anything he did or didn't do after that point was immaterial.

Three youths have also been charged in Courtepatte's death: One malehas pleadedguilty, whiletwoteenage girls still face trial.One of thosetrials is set to begin Monday.

With files from Canadian Press