Accused kidnapper Cormier disputes woman's story
The man accused of kidnapping a woman in Moncton, N.B., and holding her for almost a month says he knew the woman and claimed the two were plotting to kill her husband.
The woman, who cannot be identified due to a publication ban, has testified she did not know Romeo Cormier, 63, until she says he abducted her from a shopping mall parking lot on Feb. 26, 2010, and took her to a nearby rooming house.
She said he held her captive and repeatedly sexually assaulted her.
Testifying Monday, Cormier said they were plotting to kill her husband on the night of Feb. 26.
He also told the court he has known his accuser since 1993 after first meeting her in Newfoundland and Labrador.
The judge has asked Cormier's lawyer to "do something" about his client's rambling testimony. The lawyer said he could ask more focused questions, but could not do anything about the answers.
Jury told to disregard some testimony
Court of Queen's Bench Justice Zoël Dionne earlier instructed the jury to disregard much of the testimony it heard Monday from Cormier, who is accused of kidnapping the woman and sexually assaulting her over 26 days until she escaped.
The kidnapping trial was sidelined by a long recess on Monday as legal arguments were made over Cormier's initial testimony.
Dionne then asked the jury to disregard much of Cormier's testimony and only consider that Cormier claims to have met the woman before.
The Moncton woman told the court last week that she had never seen Cormier before he put a knife to her throat as she was headed towards her car at the mall.
But Cormier testified Monday that he had met her a number of times, that she had been to his house before and that they once ate together.
Cormier said he first met the woman in 1993 when he was a courier and 13 years later he met her at a restaurant at Moncton's Highfield Square Mall.
"I thought she was a drunk," he told the court, adding she told him, "You remind me of a man from Newfoundland."
Cormier also told the court that they spoke occasionally over the next couple of years. He said he saw her at a Zellers in 2009 and she asked for his address and phone number. The man also told the court how they even ate Chinese food together once.
He also described how she went to his house in 2009 and again in 2010.
Robert Rideout, the defence lawyer, told the court on Monday in his opening statement that his client wanted to offer "another explanation for what has taken place."
Accused's neighbour: 'Romeo must have picked up a chick'
The defence called Terry Devine, one of Cormier's neighbours, earlier Monday as its first witness.
Devine said one night during the time the woman was missing he heard Cormier and a woman talking. He told the court the woman did not sound distressed and that he thought, "Romeo must have picked up a chick or something."
Devine also testified that 20 police officers were at the house a day or two before March 12 to arrest his son on a probation violation.
Cormier's testimony on Monday morning contradicts what the jury heard last week when the woman at the centre of the high-profile trial offered graphic details of the alleged kidnapping.
The woman told the court last week how she was abducted by knifepoint, and was the victim of death threats and repeated sexual assaults.
The woman told the court how Cormier called himself the "devil" and how she finally freed herself after 26 days by wiggling free from poorly bound hand and leg ties, rushing out to the street and flagging down a passing Purolator truck.
The Crown wrapped up its case against Cormier on Friday.