Error found in Bonnell murder trial video evidence
Jury hears how store surveillance tape behind by 14 minutes
A time-stamped videotape that shows Hilary Bonnell and her accused killer, Curtis Bonnell, at the same store just a few minutes apart on the same day the teenager went missing had a time discrepancy, the jury heard on Thursday.
Deanna Joe, the store manager at the 4D convenience store, testified at the first-degree murder trial on Thursday the surveillance video from the store on the Esgenoopetitj First Nation was off by 14 minutes.
The Miramichi provincial courtroom had heard on Wednesday the store videotape shows Hilary, 16, walking out of the store at 7:31 a.m. on Sept. 5, 2009. Then, about three minutes later, Bonnell drives up in a pickup truck, makes a purchase and drives away.
But the store manager testified she noticed the time stamp on the store’s video footage was 14 minutes behind her cellphone while she was making copies of the tape for the RCMP on Sept. 25, 2009.
Joe said she notified police of the discrepancy.
She could not say when the time delay occurred. Asked by Judge Fred Ferguson whether it could have happened after Sept. 5, Joe said it could have.
She changes the hours, minutes, and seconds manually twice a year for daylight savings, she said.
Bonnell, 32, is charged with the first-degree murder of Hilary, his first cousin. He has pleaded not guilty.
The Crown alleges Bonnell picked up Hilary on the morning of Sept. 5, as she was walking along Micmac Road in the northeastern community after a party.
Bonnell is accused of holding Hilary against her will, sexually assaulting her, killing her and then driving her to an isolated location, far from the reserve, all within half an hour.
Hilary’s body was discovered in a wooded area near Tracadie-Sheila after more than two months of searching. RCMP officers testified Tuesday that Bonnell had led them to her buried remains.
About 45 witnesses will be called to testify. The trial is expected to take up to eight weeks.