PEI

Snowmobile slashing of P.E.I. judge's tires leads to trial

A man accused of slashing the car tires of a P.E.I. provincial court judge while she was hearing cases in Georgetown was on trial in Charlottetown Friday.

Ex-wife of accused happens upon Georgetown scene, reluctantly testifies

Judge Nancy Orr in courtroom. (Julien Lecacheur/CBC)

A man accused of slashing the car tires of a P.E.I. provincial court judge while she was hearing cases in Georgetown was on trial in Charlottetown Friday.

And in a strange twist, the main witness in the case is the man's ex-wife. 

Jeffrey William Clory of Georgetown pleaded not guilty to the crime, which caused $325 in damage to the front and rear tires on the driver's side of Judge Nancy Orr's car.

Court was told that the incident happened on Feb. 18 of this year, a sunny day with lots of snow on the ground.

That's significant because the culprit pulled up to Judge Nancy Orr's car on a snowmobile, according to both security video and witnesses.   

"You don't usually see a snowmobile going up mainstreet Georgetown while court is on... usually they're on trails," said witness Rodney Clarence Noseworthy, who took a shaky cellphone video of the machine. 

Courthouse surveillance video shown at the trial shows a black snowmobile approaching the judge's car at about 11:50 a.m. The sheriff stationed at the courthouse entrance, Paul David Hopkins, also testified that he saw the machine pull up beside the car.

"I seen a stabbing motion towards the vehicle … so I opened the door and yelled, 'hey!' I seen this black helmet pop up and then [he] drove off," said Hopkins.

'I knew it was him'

Clory's ex-wife also testified.

Teresa Gardiner happened to be driving along the street as the snowmobile pulled up to the judge's car.

"I could see him pull up and hit the tire," she testified. "I couldn't see any weapons or anything else. I saw him hit the [rear] tire and then hit the front tire and then left."

Gardiner said there's no doubt in her mind the man on the snowmobile was her ex-husband.

Their marriage ended about 20 years ago, but she often sees him around Three Rivers doing errands, and she told the court: "I feel I know him really well."

She added that she could see his eyes, glasses and some of his nose despite the helmet: "I didn't assume it was him. I knew it was him."

Gardiner also testified that when she stopped and told Hopkins what she had seen, she insisted she did not want to get involved. She said in court Friday that she fears retaliation. 

Text messages provide evidence

Clory's lawyer said he has an alibi for the time of the offence: He said he was delivering lunch to his daughter at her Montague school. 

But RCMP officers seized his cellphone, and accessed his text messages for the day. 

In a text message sent just minutes after the incident, he told his daughter he was not in Montague at that time. Thirteen minutes later, he texted her again, saying he was then at the McDonald's restaurant in the town. 

Testifying on Friday, Clory told the court he went back and forth to Montague three times that day, and that's where the confusion came from. He also said he is on medication — medical marijuana. 

After his arrest that day, Clory gave a videotaped statement to police.

He told police there's only one person in Georgetown who doesn't like him — his ex-wife.

He expanded on that during his testimony, saying Gardiner had made "12 other false charges against me."

Clory also testified that his other ex hates him as well. 

Mother worked with Orr

As for Orr, Clory told the court that there were long-standing issues between the judge and his mother, saying his mother worked for 15 years as a justice of the peace.

"There's been issues," he said. "My mother was a conservative. There's people at court [who] are liberal minded."

Clory testified that he was charged with a crime a few years ago, and feels Orr should not have heard his case because of her past working relationship with his mother. 

Clory's current partner Tammy Jean Riley also testified to support his story about having made multiple trips to Montague that day, after which the Crown cross-examined her about an interview she gave to a Toronto Star reporter for an article published two months after the slashing incident. 

The article said Riley had filed a complaint about Orr's car being parked on the street on Thursdays while she presided over court proceedings.

Riley is quoted as saying Orr is "a hard ass on people … she needs to be held accountable."

With files from Brian Higgins

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