Former lawyer Nick Westera was in relationship with Felicia Pynn, court told
Crown prosecutor exchanged hundreds of text messages with murder suspect's sister
A former high-profile Crown prosecutor was in a relationship with Felicia Pynn, the sister of convicted killer Philip Pynn, a Supreme Court heard this week.
The information was revealed during the trial for Jonathan Rowe, who was found not guilty Friday of accessory after the fact to manslaughter.
It was alleged Rowe helped Philip Pynn after Nick Winsor was shot in a garage on Portugal Cove Road in July 2011. Pynn was later convicted of a lesser charge of manslaughter.
The relationship came out when now Royal Newfoundland Constabulary Insp. Tom Warren, who was a sergeant at the time, was questioned by Rowe's lawyer Bob Buckingham.
Warren had interviewed Westera in March 2012, as he was investigating the shooting death of Winsor.
Texts were 'fantasy and flirtatious'
"There had been an ongoing, long-term, texting — or some people would call 'sexting' relationship — as well as a personal relationship with him visiting with her and so on," Buckingham said of the evidence revealed in court.
The relationship continued for a number of months after Winsor's death, until November 2011, Buckingham said.
There was evidence of 580 to 600 text messages between Westera and Felicia Pynn in the months after the shooting.
"He [Westera] referred to them as fantasy and flirtatious," Buckingham said of the messages.
In 2012, Westera was suspended from the Law Society of Newfoundland and Labrador, and was placed under police investigation.
But at the time, the Department of Justice and Public Safety would not comment on his suspension.
The RNC said at the time it was investigating a "member of the Crown attorney's office." No charges have ever been laid.
"I don't think anyone with respect to Mr. Westera's actions went far enough," said Buckingham.
"I don't think the police did a proper, full investigation into it. The police should have, at least, obtained records for his cellphones."
During his interview with the police in 2012, Westera was asked to turn over his cell phone and refused.
Buckingham says the Crown prosecutor's office was tainted because of what Westera did, so lawyers from out of province had to be brought to Newfoundland from Nova Scotia to handle the Pynn and Rowe cases, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars.
"An inquiry should be called into how the Crown prosecution office handled this," said Buckingham.
Westera is retired and is no longer listed as an active member of the law society.
He had been a lawyer since 1984, and was with the Crown's office for more than two decades before moving on as a defence lawyer.