Thursday, January 24, 2013

Defence challenges witness’s claims about murder accused

(Jan 24, 2013, OTTAWA)--A “great deal” of testimony from a witness who said her dead friend feared an ex-boyfriend now on trial for murder wasn’t the truth, a defence lawyer alleged Wednesday.

Lawyer Stuart Konyer also suggested that the woman, Meseret Fanta, and her friend, Aster Kassa, lied on their refugee applications when they claimed they had been at Kenyan refugee camps after fleeing Ethiopia.

They were actually nannies for rich Saudi Arabian families who had fled to Canada from Holland and France, he suggested. “Never,” said Fanta, who a day earlier had testified that she had watched Kassa’s boyfriend, Tamrat Gebere, throw a camera at Kassa and kick her while she was breastfeeding. Fanta also testified that Kassa didn’t want to return to Ottawa with Gebere because he’d kill her.

Kassa did eventually move back to Ottawa and was stabbed to death on July 17, 2010 by Gebere in a Riverside Drive apartment. The couple’s 17-month-old daughter was in the apartment at the time.

Gebere, 37, has pleaded guilty to manslaughter, but the Crown is seeking a second-degree murder conviction. A jury will have to decide if Gebere intended to kill Kassa when he stabbed her 53 times in the neck, face, chest and arms. Read more from Ottawa Citizen »

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