Svekla's lawyer argues lack of hard evidence in murder case
The defence lawyer for an Alberta man accused of killing two prostitutes says the Crown has no hard evidence against his client.
Robert Shaigec, making his final arguments on Friday in the second-degree murder trial of Thomas Svekla, said the Crown's case is based on supposition rather than facts.
Svekla, 40, was charged with two counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of Theresa Innes, 36, and 19-year-old Rachel Quinney. Innes's naked corpse was found in May 2006, tightly wrapped and stuffed into a hockey bag belonging to Svekla.
According to court documents, Svekla told RCMP he did not kill the young woman but was transporting her body from High Level, in northern Alberta, to Edmonton to give her a decent burial.
Crown prosecutor Ashley Finlayson has argued that Svekla is a liar and that the fact Innes's body was found in Svekla's hockey bag is central to the case.
The Crown alleges Svekla killed Innes, wrapped her body and hid it for four months — perhaps in a freezer — before ultimately moving it to his family's home outside Edmonton.
But Shaigec told Justice Sterling Sanderman possession of a body doesn't prove murder.
He also pointed out that the medical examiner said he wasn't sure Quinney's death was, indeed, a homicide.
Quinney's body was found in a field outside Edmonton in 2004. Svekla has said he found the body in a remote, forested area and reported it to police.
The Crown called more than 100 witnesses over the course of the three-month trial. Svekla's lawyer did not present any evidence for the defence.
When the trial began Feb. 19, Svekla pleaded not guilty in the deaths of Innes and Quinney. He also pleaded not guilty to two charges of offering an indignity to a body.
With files from The Canadian Press