Crime

Jury hears first witnesses in Christopher Garnier murder trial

‘This case is about a man who loses control,’ says Crown

Christopher Garnier enters court at the Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Halifax.   Cory Funk

A jury of seven women and seven men heard the Crown attorney’s opening statement and three witnesses Tuesday, as the murder trial of Christopher Calvin Garnier continues in Halifax.  

Garnier, 29, is accused of killing Catherine Campbell, an off-duty Truro police officer, in 2015.

He has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and improperly interfering with human remains.

In her opening statement at the Nova Scotia Supreme Court, Crown attorney Carla Ball told the jury “this case is about a man who loses control.” The Crown claims that Garnier strangled Campbell at his friend’s Halifax apartment in the early morning of Sept. 11, 2015, after meeting her at the Ale House earlier that night.

Throughout the proceedings, Garnier sat beside his defence attorney, Joel Pink.

Ball told the jury that Garnier disposed of Campbell’s body by putting it in a green compost bin and dragging it through north-end Halifax to the Macdonald Bridge.

Campbell’s body was found under that bridge on Sept. 16, 2015.  

Witnesses testify

Forty witnesses are expected to testify in the five-week trial.

The first witness was Erin Adams, dispatch supervisor for Truro Police Service, who testified that she placed the first phone call to Halifax Regional Police to check on Campbell’s well-being after she did not report to work on Sept. 14, 2015.  

Const. Stuart McCulley, the Halifax police officer who responded to Adams’ call, told the jury he went to Campbell’s Dartmouth apartment and found it empty. McCulley obtained surveillance footage from the apartment’s parking garage, which, he said, showed Campbell arriving at her apartment in the evening of Sept. 10, 2015, and leaving the apartment later that night. This surveillance footage was shown to the jury and submitted as evidence.

McCulley told the jury when he could not find Campbell he issued a missing persons media release through HRP.

The third witness was taxi driver Terrance Little, who testified that he picked up Campbell from her Dartmouth apartment and dropped her off at the Ale House in downtown Halifax.

Crown attorney Christine Driscoll talks to reporters after court is adjourned.   Cory Funk

Outside the courtroom, Crown attorney Christine Driscoll said it was important to follow a timeline with the case.

“We’re trying to move chronologically through what we alleged happened with civilians and police officers who attended scenes, took photographs, identified exhibits and try to keep the story as chronological as possible,” she told reporters.

The trial began on Monday with the selection of the jurors. It’s set to run until Dec. 21, but may go longer.