Crime

Witness testifies that Garnier was man with the compost bin

Second-degree murder trial of Christopher Garnier continues in Nova Scotia Supreme Court

Christopher Garnier heads into the courtroom   Lama El Azrak

The Christopher Garnier trial had five witnesses testify in Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Halifax on Wednesday, as the trial entered Day 7.

The first witness, David Yeo, discussed the identity of the man wheeling the compost bin, which the Crown alleges contained Catherine Campbell’s remains.

Garnier, 29, is accused of murdering Campbell, 36, in 2015. Her body was found under the Macdonald Bridge. Garnier has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and improperly interfering with human remains.

The Crown alleges that Garnier used the compost bin to transport and dispose of Campbell’s body after killing her.

Yeo, who lived in a home overlooking Barrington Street, said that he was on his balcony the morning of Sept. 11, 2015, when he saw a man wheeling a green bin. Yeo described the man as disoriented, cursing and struggling with the bin.

“As a normal human being, it didn’t look right,” Yeo said on stand.

When asked by Crown attorney Carla Ball to describe what the man looked like, Yeo responded “he’s sitting right there,” and referred to Garnier.

Yeo said he watched the man for a few minutes, until the man reached a tree line under the Macdonald Bridge and went out of sight. The man returned with the bin minutes later.

During cross-examination by defence Attorney Joel Pink, Yeo said the man was wearing a light coloured T-shirt, light coloured gym pants, and what appeared to be sneakers. Later, he said that he wasn’t staring at the man’s feet when he saw him. Previous evidence suggested the man with the green bin was barefoot and wore shorts.

Security footage shows a man dragging the compost bin.   Screengrab of court exhibit

The jury also heard from Christopher Keddy, a forensic toxicologist at the RCMP’s National Forensic Services lab in Ottawa. Keddy said tests found alcohol in Campbell’s body, but no evidence of drugs.

The defence, during cross-examination, said that Campbell paid her taxi driver that night with a debit card, which requires a degree of control.

“Everybody has a different tolerance for alcohol,” Keddy said during testimony.

Members of the surveillance team, who watched Garnier during the investigation, also testified Wednesday.

Const. John Mansvelt followed Garnier on Sept. 15, 2015, from his work in Burnside to his residence in Clayton Park. Mansvelt told the court that Garnier was at his residence for about a minute before heading back to downtown Halifax. Mansvelt lost track of Garnier at the corner of Cornwallis and Barrington streets.

Const. David Robertson testified that on Sept. 16, several minutes after midnight, he noticed a white Ford Edge leaving Garnier’s residence and notified other officers. Robertson didn’t follow Garnier.

Sgt. Kenneth Burton told the court he followed Garnier’s vehicle from his residence in Clayton Park to Barrington Street, then back to Clayton Park. Afterwards, Garnier was arrested by Burton’s partner, while Burton observed the vehicle. He told the court the vehicle contained a few items including gloves, a backpack and a brown blanket.

The trial continues on Thursday.