Thunder Bay

Hobbs extortion trial continues Monday in Thunder Bay

The extortion trial for former Thunder Bay mayor Keith Hobbs, his wife Marisa Hobbs, and city resident Mary Voss will resume Monday after a three-day break in the proceedings.

Trial entering final week, cross-examination of OPP investigator expected to begin in the afternoon

The extortion trial against former Thunder Bay mayor Keith Hobbs, his wife Marisa Hobbs, and city resident Mary Voss continues Monday. (Amy Hadley/CBC)

The extortion trial for former Thunder Bay mayor Keith Hobbs, his wife Marisa Hobbs, and city resident Mary Voss will resume Monday after a three-day break.

The day's proceedings are scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. at the Thunder Bay courthouse, with a continuation of testimony from OPP Det. Insp. Martin Graham, who headed up the extortion investigation.

The three are each facing a charge of extortion over their alleged attempts to force another person to purchase a house for Voss.

Cross-examination of Graham is expected to begin Monday afternoon.

Graham is the Crown's final witness in the trial.

Most of Thursday's proceedings involved watching videos of interviews Graham conducted with Marisa Hobbs and Voss.

In Voss's case, the interview was nearly three hours long; only part of it was viewed in court, but the entire video was obtained by media as it was entered into evidence and is part of the public record of the trial. Justice Dawson, who is presiding over case, would view the remainder of the video over the weekend.

In the video, Voss tells Graham she was threatened by the alleged victim, who told her "you can run but you can't hide because Craig Loverin will get [you]."

Loverin is a friend of the alleged victim. He testified earlier in the trial.

However, Voss said she didn't have anywhere to go, and had already sold her home to move in with the victim. 

"If you don't make any trouble, [I] will pay for it all," Voss recalls the alleged victim telling her. But, she also tells police, "I do things for myself. When I say I'm working, I work."

Voss said she didn't go to the police because she was scared of them due to her upbringing in Ghana.

And toward the end of the interview, Voss breaks down and starts crying, saying the alleged victim's name and asking "Why did you do this? Do you hate me that much?"

"I didn't come to take your money," Voss said. "I give you all the love you can get. Wash clothes, file nails, give you warm blanket."

Graham then asks, and chuckles, if Voss is trying to give a statement to the alleged victim.

During the interview, Graham puts forth a scenario on why Voss and the Hobbs' would work together to get Voss a house. The Hobbs', in financial difficulty at the time, wanted Voss to get a home, which she would own outright, according to the agreement. Then, the Hobbs' could borrow the money they needed against Voss' home, Graham alleged.

Graham asks Voss repeatedly about the contents of the 'separation agreement' which is signed by Voss, the alleged victim and Heli Kijanen. Graham insists the document contains "your words," as she signed the document, while Voss said the writing on the page was drafted by the victim, although typed out by Keith Hobbs.

Voss told Graham she never read the document, she just signed it, as she wanted to make peace between all parties. She also said she was busy cooking when the contract was read aloud by Keith Hobbs, and she never really paid attention to its contents.

"I don't believe you," said Graham, "They're your words because you signed it."

"Who does this agreement benefit?" he asks."Who is to blame?"

Voss later tells Graham she was looking at homes in the $400,000 range, after she was, "told to look at what I want."

She said the victim insisted the home being purchased had a basement suite, so it could be rented out and provide her with income. She said she looked at another home, with the victim, in the River Terrace area with a value of $389,000.

"He's framing me like that," said Voss. "I couldn't even hurt a fly."