Nova Scotia

Phillip Boudreau 'murder for lobster' trial hears from accused

The jury in the James Landry murder trial heard from the accused for the first time Tuesday as court viewed tapes of his interviews with police about the disappearance of Philip Boudreau last year.

James Joseph Landry, 67, faces 2nd-degree murder charge

Slaying at sea

7 years ago
Nova Scotia fisherman Philip Boudreau was shot and his boat run over before his body was tied to an anchor and sunk 2:34

The jury in the James Landry murder trial heard from the accused for the first time Tuesday as the court viewed tapes of his interviews with police about the disappearance of Philip Boudreau last year.

What Landry told police contradicts the story told by witness Craig Landry on Monday.

Craig Landry, the Crown's key witness in the "murder for lobster" trial, says he was too scared to push back when his fellow crew members shot at the victim's boat in the waters near a small fishing community of Nova Scotia.

His cousin James Landry, 67, is charged with second-degree murder in the death of 43-year-old Phillip Boudreau of Petit-de-Grat last year.

On Monday, Craig Landry told court, it was James Landry who fired the shots at Boudreau's boat, who dragged Boudreau out to sea with a gaff and who helped tie Boudreau to an anchor.

Early Tuesday, the defence drilled Craig Landry on his testimony from the day before, asking him why he didn't say anything when Landry allegedly fired shots at Boudreau's boat.

Craig Landry says he was so frightened, he soiled himself.

When the defence asked if he cleaned himself up, the Crown objected, saying they were only trying to embarrass him on the stand. 

Chief Justice Joseph Kennedy allowed the defence to continue, but added, "This is not a tea party, it's a murder trial."

Disturbing details are emerging about what may have happened to fisherman Philip Boudreau off the coast of Petit-de-Grat in Cape Breton. (CBC)

On Tuesday afternoon, the jury got to see James Landry in a video interview with police the day after Boudreau disappeared.

Police told him they were investigating the collision. Landry said they hadn't seen Boudreau or his boat all day. Landry said they did see him the day before — in thick fog — when Boudreau came out of nowhere and rammed their boat. He said Boudreau rammed them twice and threatened to cut all their gear.

The investigator asked what kind of person would deliberately ram a boat. James Landry replies, an angry one, but says he was not angry.

The Crown has two more police videos to show with James Landry that run to five hours in length. After that, it's expected they will rest their case.

It will then be the defence's turn.

The Landrys are third cousins and worked together as deckhands on the fishing boat the Twin Maggies. Craig Landry originally faced a second-degree murder charge but that was withdrawn. He now faces a charge of accessory after the fact in the case.

On Monday, the court heard how the crew aboard the Twin Maggies spotted Boudreau out on the water on June 1, 2013. The crew thought he was tampering with their lobster traps and sped toward his small boat.

Threats on the water

Craig Landry testified his cousin called for the rifle that was on board. He fired several shots, says Landry, and one of them hit Boudreau in the leg.

Boudreau, who had denied tampering with the traps, pleaded for them to stop and said they'd broken his leg.

The court then heard how the Twin Maggies rammed Boudreau's boat three times, eventually capsizing it.

Boudreau was left bobbing in the water, clutching a gas can.

Craig Landry said his cousin then told Boudreau, "You won't cut any more of our traps."

According to the witness, James Landry used a gaff to hook Boudreau and begin towing him into deeper water.

Craig Landry, who admitted he had lied early on to police about the whole ordeal, testified he could see Boudreau foaming at the mouth.

He said Landry and the captain of the boat then tied Boudreau's body to an anchor and threw it overboard.

Afterwards, the crew went about its regular fishing business.

Boudreau's body was never found.

In his cross-examination, defence lawyer Luke Craggs identified 14 times where Craig Landry wasn't truthful with police, keeping a tally of the lies that Landry acknowledged on an easel in black marker. Among those lies was that the Twin Maggies crew hadn't seen Boudreau on June 1, 2013.

WIth files from The Canadian Press