Court

Wait continues as deliberations in Paul Calnen trial to resume on Saturday

Paul Calnen is accused of murdering his girlfriend Reita Jordan in 2013

The Jordan family waits patiently outside the courtroom for deliberations to end. They come to the courthouse everyday hoping justice will be served.
The Jordan family waits patiently outside the courtroom for deliberations to end. They come to the courthouse everyday of the trial.   Guillaume Lapointe-Gagner

The jury determining the fate of Paul Calnen will deliberate for a third day Saturday.

It was a long day in court for everyone attending the Calnen’s murder trial on Friday. The end of the day marked the 14th hour of deliberations for the jury since they started on Thursday.

The Crown accuses Calnen, 52, of second-degree murder in the death of his live-in girlfriend, Reita Jordan. Calnen pleaded guilty to indecently interfering with a human body. He admitted in video testimony to burning her body and dumping the ashes in a lake.

The jury spent about seven hours deliberating on Friday on top of another six and a half hours on Thursday.

At 6 p.m. Friday the jurors were sequestered. They were told that they would be put up in a local hotel, where they would have no contact with the outside world save with family members or their workplace. Justice James Chipman reinforced the idea that they were not to talk to anyone or have access to any information that could influence their decision of the trial including electronic devices, no television, and newspapers.

The jury, which is comprised of eight women and four men, will resume deliberations Saturday morning. Deliberations are expected to continue throughout the weekend until a verdict has been reached.

Calnen’s lawyer, Peter Planetta, argued when Calnen came home the night of Mar. 18, 2013, the couple started arguing at the top of a staircase. Planetta said Jordan accidentally fell down the stairs during the argument, and that when Calnen went to check on her, she was dead.

The Crown disagrees with that version of events and argued Calnen intentionally killed Jordan and disposed of her body.

On Friday morning the jurors asked Justice Chipman a question, in the only interruption of an otherwise uneventful day at the courthouse. The jurors asked Chipman to review the language on each aspect of a “decision tree” flow chart he described to them during his instructions to the jury on Thursday.

The jury must determine whether Calnen caused Jordan’s death, and if so, if it was done unlawfully. If the jury is not certain on those questions beyond a reasonable doubt, Calnen will be found not guilty.

If the jurors believe Calnen caused Jordan’s death unlawfully, they must decide whether he explicitly intended to kill her. If the jury is satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that he did, then it must find Calnen guilty of second-degree murder. If the answer is no, then the jury would find Calnen guilty of manslaughter, a lesser charge.