The second degree murder trial of Jeremy Hall in Welland, Ontario ended in a hung jury mistrial on June 2, 2015 after the jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict following six days of deliberations.
The Defense Argument
Dirk Derstine and Stephanie DiGiuseppe, counsel for Jeremy Hall, argued that Mr. Hall was not responsible for the death of Kelvin Sawa, a 46 year old taxi driver from Port Colborne, Ontario.
Evidence at the trial revealed that Sawa hung himself inside his cell after correction officers working on his range at the Niagara Detention Detention Centre informed inmates that Mr. Sawa was charged with sexual assault and sexual interference.
Prosecutors argued that Mr. Sawa hung himself after a rope was delivered to his cell by an individual named Cale Rose. It was argued that Mr. Hall, along with several others, may have been involved in providing the rope to Mr. Rose, who then passed it through the cell door to Mr. Sawa.
Prior to the passing of the rope, the jury heard evidence and saw video footage of Mr. Sawa being humiliated, verbally abused, and assaulted by various inmates for over an hour. While Mr. Hall did not contest that he assaulted Mr. Sawa approximately an hour and a half before his suicide, he maintained that his involvement with Mr. Sawa ended after the assault in the bathroom. Video footage revealed minimal interaction between Mr. Hall and Mr. Sawa after the initial assault.
Mr Rose, who testified that he provided the rope to Kelvin Sawa as a joke and told him he might as well use it, pleaded guilty to manslaughter and received a sentence of little over two years. None of the other men involved in the passing of the rope into the cell, the verbal and physical assaults of Kelvin Sawa, nor any of the correctional officers involved in leaking his charges to the inmates, have been prosecuted in any way.
Today, the Welland Crown Attorney’s office announced that they would re-prosecute Mr. Hall, a decision which would cost Canadian tax payers hundreds of thousands of dollars in court and prosecutorial expenses. It does not appear that they plan to prosecute any other party at this time.
Click the link here to read more about Mr. Hall’s trial in the National Post:
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