WINNIPEG — A jury has found two men guilty of manslaughter in the high-profile shooting death of a Winnipeg woman inside a home that was then set on fire.
Christopher Brass and Jason Meilleur were charged after Jeanenne Fontaine was killed in March 2017.
She was the cousin of Tina Fontaine, a teenager whose body was found three years earlier in the Red River, and whose death fuelled calls for a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women.
Another man, Malcolm Mitchell, pleaded guilty to shooting Jeanenne Fontaine last month and was sentenced to life in prison for second-degree murder.
The Crown had argued that Brass and Meilleur should be convicted of manslaughter because they went to the home with Mitchell and were planning to rob Fontaine and her boyfriend when the shooting happened.
The Crown said the three went to collect on a drug debt — about $90 worth of methamphetamine — and Brass and Meilleur should have known the situation would turn violent because Mitchell was armed with both a gun and a knife.
Defence lawyers did not present evidence during the trial, but said during closing arguments that the Crown had failed to prove that a robbery was being committed. A cellphone and other valuables were left untouched.
They also pointed to witness testimony that Mitchell was alone with Fontaine in a bedroom when he shot her. Brass and Meilleur were elsewhere in the house. Mitchell then started the fire.
Latest in a series of tragedies for Fontaine family
The killing was the latest in a series of hardships for the Fontaine family.
A relative testified that Jeanenne, who was 29, only started taking meth after her cousin Tina’s body was pulled from the Red River in 2014.
The 15-year-old’s body had been wrapped in a duvet cover and weighed down with rocks. The man accused in her death, Raymond Cormier, was acquitted last year.
Tina Fontaine had also spiralled downward after a family tragedy. Her father, Eugene Fontaine, was beaten to death in 2011. Two men pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
Victim impact statements at their trial noted that Tina had a happy childhood but was unable to cope with her father’s death, got into trouble, and drifted away from the people closest to her.
Brass is already serving life sentences for the first-degree murder of Daniel Dipaolo, who was found dead in Regina home in April 2017, and for a second-degree murder conviction in the shooting death of Bryer Prysianzniuk-Settee in Winnipeg in February of that same year.
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OTTAWA — Justin Trudeau told his MPs to stay focused on helping Canadians at home in this coming election year, despite the anxiety created by global turbulence.
The prime minister referred to the China-U.S. trade war and the pending Brexit divorce of Britain and Europe, as well as the threat of climate change and the economic upheaval of lost jobs to Artificial Intelligence.
But Trudeau skirted mention of Canada’s personal list of international woes, including its plummeting relations with China after the RCMP arrested Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou on Dec. 1 at the behest of the United States.
Days later, China detained Michael Kovrig, a Canadian diplomat on leave, and Michael Spavor, an entrepreneur, on vague allegations of “engaging in activities that endanger the national security.” Last week, a third imprisoned Canadian, Robert Lloyd Schellenberg, received an upgraded sentence to a previous drug smuggling conviction from a Chinese court — death.
“People across the country — and really, around the world — are anxious about what they see happening on the news, and in their communities,” Trudeau said Sunday at the opening of a two-day caucus retreat for Liberal MPs on Parliament Hill.
“Climate change is an increasingly dire threat, with floods and fires destroying whole towns at a blistering pace. The world’s two largest economies are at odds, and our founding European nations are going through unprecedented political turmoil.”
Trudeau avoided mention of two other major international irritants.
There’s the uncertainty around some significant unfinished economic business with the Trump administration in Washington, D.C., that cuts to the core of Canada’s economic future. This includes ratifying a newly renegotiated North American free trade agreement, and getting rid of punishing U.S. sanctions on Canadian steel and aluminum.
Canada is also in the midst of a falling out with Saudi Arabia, which started in August when the country’s volatile Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was bent out of shape by a tweet from Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland calling for the release of political prisoners. Saudi Arabia expelled Canada’s ambassador, froze investment and recalled its foreign university students.
Earlier this month, Canada accepted 18-year-old Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun as a refugee from Saudi Arabia after she became an internet sensation in Thailand for fleeing what she alleged was an abusive family.
Those international headaches could make it more difficult for the Trudeau Liberals to keep the focus on domestic concerns as they navigate their way through an election year.
He used Sunday’s speech to sharpen what will be his core campaign message when Canadians are expected to go the polls in October in the next federal election.
Trudeau took several partisan shots at the Conservatives, saying they have no plan for tackling climate change and the economy while citing Liberal gains in lowering taxes and unemployment. The prime minister singled out the Canada Child Benefit.
Trudeau said the Liberals will offer Canadians hope, branding his opposition as a party of wedge politics rooted in the ideas of its former leader, Stephen Harper.
“Make no mistake: The Conservatives pretend to be ’for the people,’ but that couldn’t be further from the truth. This is still very much the party of Stephen Harper,” Trudeau said.
“It’s all the same — wedge issues, cuts to services and the will to look backwards. They’ll never change.”
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TOKYO — Former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn on Monday asked for his release on bail from a two-month detention in Japan, promising he will report to prosecutors daily and wear an electronic monitoring ankle bracelet.
“As the court considers my bail application, I want to emphasize that I will reside in Japan and respect any and all bail conditions the court concludes are warranted,” he said in a statement shared with The Associated Press through a representative of Ghosn and his family.
“I am not guilty of the charges against me and I look forward to defending my reputation in the courtroom; nothing is more important to me or to my family,” he said.
Ghosn, 64, and in custody since his Nov. 19 arrest, is due for a bail hearing Monday after his bail request was denied by a Tokyo court last week.
His latest request includes a lease for a Tokyo apartment, where he promises to live. The offer to wear a monitoring device is not standard for Japanese bail but is often included in U.S. bail conditions. No trial date has been set.
In Japan, suspects are often kept in detention until trials start, especially those who assert innocence, in what’s criticized as “hostage justice.” Tokyo prosecutors say Ghosn is a flight risk and may tamper with evidence. Legal experts, including Ghosn’s lawyers, say preparations for trials as complex as Ghosn’s take six months or longer.
Ghosn is also promising to give up his passport and hire security guards acceptable to prosecutors that he would pay for.
He has been charged with falsifying financial reports in underreporting his compensation from Nissan Motor Co., and breach of trust in having Nissan shoulder investment losses and pay a Saudi businessman.
Ghosn has asserted his innocence, saying the compensation was never decided, Nissan never suffered losses and the payments were for legitimate services for Nissan’s business in the Gulf.
He has been held in austere conditions at the Tokyo Detention Center, allowed visits only by embassy officials, lawyers and prosecutors. His wife, Carole Ghosn, has expressed worries about his health and appealed to Human Rights Watch about what she saw as his unfair and harsh treatment.
Ghosn led Nissan for two decades, turning it around from near-bankruptcy to one of the world’s biggest and most successful auto groups. A Brazilian-born Frenchman of Lebanese ancestry, with work experience in the U.S., Ghosn was admired internationally for his managerial skills. He was sent in 1999 by Renault SA of France, which owns 43 per cent of Nissan.
Nissan Chief Executive Hiroto Saikawa has denounced Ghosn, accusing him of using company money and assets for personal gain. But Nissan’s oversight has raised serious questions about governance at the automaker behind the Leaf electric car and Infiniti luxury models.
Nissan’s internal investigation found Nissan purchased homes and furnishings for Ghosn in Lebanon and Brazil, but only a handful of people at Nissan knew, according to people familiar with the probe. Nissan still owns the homes.
The latest development in the investigation was discussed by the board of Nissan’s Japanese alliance partner Mitsubishi Motors Corp. last week, centring on millions of dollars of salary and bonus pay to Ghosn by the automakers’ joint venture in Amsterdam last year, which neither Mitsubishi nor Nissan knew about.
No charges have been filed on these payments, which are separate from the compensation from Nissan cited in the charges already filed.
Ghosn’s compensation was long a sticking point in Japan, where the income difference between executives and workers is so minimal that company presidents are also called “salarymen.” Ghosn has said he deserved pay comparable to other star leaders of global companies.
Ghosn defended his record at Nissan at a Tokyo court earlier this month.
“I have a genuine love and appreciation for Nissan. I believe strongly that in all of my efforts on behalf of the company, I have acted honourably, legally, and with the knowledge and approval of the appropriate executives inside the company,” he said.
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Yuri Kageyama, The Associated Press
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Charlize Theron and Brad Pitt are dating.
And the couple was introduced by her former fiance Sean Penn.
The UK Sun newspaper is reporting that sparks are flying between the two A-listers.
According to sources the pair were all over each over at a showbiz party last week.
Their relationship, which began over Christmas, is Pitt’s first serious romance since he split from Angelina Jolie back in 2016.
Oscar winner Theron, who called off her marriage to Penn in 2015, is understood to have visited Brad at his home in the Los Feliz area of Los Angeles.
But she has not, as yet, met his six children with Jolie.
Both Pitt, 55, and Theron, 43, are both known for their romances with other high-profile stars.
A source said: “They have been casually seeing each other for nearly a month now. They’ve been friends for some time — ironically through Sean — but things have developed.”
Last weekend the pair were spotted together after separate Saturday night movie screenings.
Pitt went to watch “If Beale Street Could Talk” — which he is exec producer of — at a private house in the Hollywood Hills.
Theron was special guest at a showing of “Roma” at the historic Chateau Marmont Hotel.
The source added: “Brad came over to Chateau afterwards, changed his outfit and joined Charlize in a corner of the bar.
“She was on a vodka cocktail while he stuck to mineral water.
“They were ridiculously touchy-feely and his arm was around her back. At one point he winked at her.
“Brad seemed in a really good place — they both looked really happy.”
Pitt quit alcohol after admitting his drinking was the main problem in his marriage to Jolie.
The pair has been embroiled in a bitter divorce that is expected to be resolved soon.
The actor famously dated Gwyneth Paltrow before marrying first wife Jennifer Aniston.
Theron, who has two adopted children, was previously linked to Keanu Reeves, Ryan Reynolds and Alexander Skarsgard.
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WASHINGTON — On a day focused on his demand for a border wall, President Donald Trump used music and pageantry to welcome “the five newest members of our great American family” during a naturalization ceremony in the Oval Office.
In a ceremony Saturday that began to the strains of a violin and ended with a booming national anthem, Trump celebrated the five new Americans from Iraq, Britain, South Korea, Jamaica and Bolivia.
“Each of you worked hard for this moment. You followed the rules, upheld our laws,” the president said, stressing that they had arrived in the country legally.
A couple of hours later, Trump would unveil his offer to extend temporary protection to young immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children if Democrats would agree to fund the southern border wall he promised as a candidate. Democrats quickly dismissed the plan as a “non-starter.”
Trump introduced each of the new U.S. citizens, noting that some had come to the country with American spouses and some had children who were born here. To a woman from South Korea who came to the U.S. to pursue graduate studies and is now a university professor, he said: “I want to congratulate you, and you’re going to have a great time.”
The new citizens had the oath of allegiance administered by Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and received their naturalization certificates from Vice-President Mike Pence, followed by a handshake from Trump.
“By taking this oath, you have forged a sacred bond with this nation, its traditions, its culture and its values. This heritage is now yours to protect, promote and pass down to the next generation and to the next wave of newcomers to our shores,” the president said.
The Associated Press
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