Ambush or self-defence? Polchies murder trial hears closing arguments

The Crown and defence presented their closing arguments Friday morning after nine days of testimony in Polchies’ second degree murder trial for the shooting death of Bobby Martin Jr.

Nine-day trial for second degree murder of Bobby Martin Jr. wrapped up Friday

A sketch of Evan Polchies testifying in Fredericton court Jan. 18, 2018. His trial in the death of Bobby Martin Jr. concluded Friday. (Patrick Nelson)

The fate of Evan Polchies will soon be in the hands of a jury.

The Crown and defence presented their closing arguments Friday morning after nine days of testimony in Polchies' second degree murder trial for the shooting death of Bobby Martin Jr.

Defence lawyer T.J. Burke argued that Polchies' co-accused, Joe-Anna Hachey, was responsible for Martin's death, luring Martin to a Lincoln trailer to settle a score with him.

She said she asked Martin to bring drugs to the mobile home, but she and Polchies planned to rob him when he got there.

Hachey, who is to go on trial in April, testified against Polchies, saying he knew of the plan, and that she didn't witness what happened when Martin got to the home.

Burke had argued his client knew nothing of the plan, and was shocked when his old enemy, Bobby Martin, showed up at the mini home.

The murder trial in the death of Bobby Martin Jr. concluded Friday, with the Crown and defence teams making their closing arguments. (Submitted)

Burke said Polchies was acting in self-defence when he shot Martin twice, once in the leg and once in the groin, on Jan. 26, 2017.  

But in her closing statement, Crown prosecutor Darlene Blunston argued that the shooting was an ambush "of someone that Evan Polchies hated," given the pair's past history.

Defence hammers home self-defence case

In his closing statement, Burke asked why Polchies didn't take the $1,215 in cash that was on Martin if his intent was to rob him.

And if Polchies' intent was to kill Martin, why didn't he shoot him in the chest, head or back, or fire at him again as he staggered back to his vehicle, Burke asked.

Evan Polchies had no idea Martin was dead, and his actions of running to his parents' home, then hiding out in Woodstock, were because he was scared of Martin's family retaliating, Burke argued.

He added that people like Polchies and Martin "don't go to the cops, they resolve things on the street."

A photo taken inside the trailer where Bobby Martin Jr. was shot shows a small hole in one of the walls. (Submitted )

Burke ended his closing arguments by showing the jury photographs of where Polchies said he was standing, and where the bullet went into the wall. The photos show the bullet hit low, on the wall next to the door to the deck.

Burke argued this proves Polchies' version of events was correct, and that it "never crossed Evan's mind that Bobby might die."

Crown argues shooting was an ambush

Blunston pointed out that Polchies doesn't dispute that he pointed a loaded rifle at Martin, and pulled the trigger twice.

She pointed out that Hachey's story in her October statement to police changed after phone calls with Polchies, where the jury heard him appear to spell out what he needed her to say.

She went on to reminded the jury of Polchies' message to Marissa Shepherd to "get her girl in check".

"He knows that if he can get Joe-Anna to change her story, it will mean 'a world of difference to him," Blunston said.

Blunston also questioned whether Martin would have advanced on someone holding a rifle, and reminded the jury that Martin was shot in the side of the left leg, which would have been impossible if he was advancing on Polchies.

"This was not self-defence. This was not just a robbery. This was an ambush. It was an ambush of someone that Evan Polchies hated," she said.

"Evan Polchies was not scared of the deceased. He deliberately got his weapon ready and he waited to ambush him. And ambush him he did."

Judge Judy Clendening said she will charge the jury Wednesday morning, and they will begin their deliberations then.

With files from Catherine Harrop