In his closing statements Tuesday, defence lawyer James Morton said the trial of Jeffrey Salomonie was about one issue: Salomonie's state of mind when he killed Daisy Curley.
Salomonie has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the May 2009 death of the 33-year-old Iqaluit woman. He tried to plead guilty to a lesser charge of manslaughter at the start of his trial in Iqaluit, but Crown prosecutors rejected his plea, instead pushing for a murder conviction.
Both Crown and defence agree Salomonie killed Curley in her own home by hitting her in the face with his fists and striking her with a hockey stick after a night of drinking, though Salomonie testified he doesn't remember harming her.
But Morton argued there isn't enough evidence to explain why the attack happened. He told the court he anticipated the Crown will argue Salomonie attacked Curley in order to rape her, but Morton says that's pure speculation. There is evidence the two had sex, but Morton argued there's no evidence whether the assault happened before or after.
Morton also argued Salomonie could not have had intent to kill Curley due to the level of his intoxication. Salomonie testified he drank 10 to 12 beers in a hotel bar, plus two or three vodka mixed drinks, in about a five-hour window. He said he and Curley shared 20 ounces of vodka in his hotel room before taking a taxi to Curley's house.
Morton was frequently questioned by Justice Neil Sharkey during his submissions. He began his closing arguments in the afternoon after court was adjourned for the morning because of technical difficulties with the audio system Salomonie, who is hard of hearing, needs in order to follow the proceedings.
Morton will finish his closing arguments Wednesday morning, then Crown prosecutors will present their final submissions.
Sharkey says he will deliver a verdict on Feb. 22.