Thunder Bay

Closing submissions expected today in Hobbs trial

Closing submissions in the extortion trial involving former Thunder Bay, Ont., Mayor Keith Hobbs are expected to begin this morning, and wrap up by the end of the day.

Trial had final evidence presented to court on December 6

Mayor Keith Hobbs and his wife Marisa speak to their lawyer Brian Greenspan outside the Thunder Bay courthouse. Greenspan will deliver his closing submissions to the court on Thursday. (Kris Ketonen / CBC)

Closing submissions in the extortion trial involving former Thunder Bay, Ont., Mayor Keith Hobbs are expected to begin this morning, and wrap up by the end of the day.

Hobbs, along with his wife Marisa and Mary Voss each face a charge of extortion. It's in relation to the trio attempting to induce a local person to buy a house for Voss.

Closing arguments are slated to begin on Thursday around 11 a.m. The later court start time is to accommodate the schedules of out of town counsel. Court is expected to sit until  6 p.m., and, will continue on Friday morning, if required.

The trial, which lasted three weeks, wrapped up on Dec 6. Closing arguments were originally slated to take a few days, but in court, Justice Fletcher Dawson noted some type of written argument may also be presented to the court, which will be put under consideration.

At the opening of the trial, Crown Attorney Peter Keen said the trial would be about, "who is driving the bus," noting the accused were in the position to commit extortion.

Defence counsel disagrees, noting that it was the alleged extortion victim who was pushing the matter forward.

Defence counsel told the court it has issues with the credibility and reliability of some crown witnesses, particularly the alleged victim themselves. Brian Greenspan, the lawyer for the Hobbs' said that they did not believe some of the timelines and events the alleged victim was saying in court, noting they seemed to be rehearsed, and even made up.

Much of the evidence relied on at trial came from text and phone records, along with taped video statements conducted by OPP Det. Insp. Martin Graham, who was the provincial force's lead investigator on the case.

Greenspan said during the trial he had concerns of the OPP having tunnel vision, and not getting all of the pertinent information during interviews.

During the last few days in court, the timeline on when specific interactions took place was paramount, with each side attempting to solidify where specific people were at what time, and how that makes the attempted extortion either plausible, or impossible.

A decision on the matter is expected within the coming months, with a timetable from Justice Fletcher Dawson potentially discussed at the end of court today.

About the Author

Jeff Walters

Reporter/Editor

Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Jeff is proud to work in his hometown, as well as throughout northwestern Ontario. Away from work, you can find him skiing (on water or snow), curling, out at the lake or flying.