A homeless man broke down in tears in a Vernon courtroom after being acquitted of all charges against him.
62 year old Maurice Taillon was found not guilty of charges of assault with a weapon and aggravated assault after a five day trial in BC Supreme Court which was conducted almost entirely in French which is Taillon’s preferred language.
“Thank you very much. Merci. Bless you,” said an overwhelmed Taillon to Justice Miriam Maisonville in the courtroom.
Taillon, a former Quebec resident, had spent 15 months in custody waiting for the trial in which he was accused of stabbing 39 year old Cameron Ormiston in Spallumcheen in November 2014.
Defence lawyer Sandra Mandanici told the media, the judge ruled Taillon acted in self defence, and feared for his life when Ormiston and another man were trying to escort him off the property after a night of drinking.
“Mr. Taillon said (Ormiston) was threatening. He was very scared. He had taken all his property away, and he said there was a ditch and he thought that he was going to be killed.”
Mandanici told the media after the verdict, Ormiston was not a Good Samaritan as has been suggested in police reports about the incident.
“The judge said that there was not a lot of credibility to the testimony of Mr. Ormiston. She believed the testimony of Mr. Taillon, and in the whole of the evidence, there was a reasonable doubt, so she acquitted Mr. Taillon. That night, everyone was consuming alcohol. He (Ormiston) met Mr. Taillon near a cheese shop (in Armstrong) and he ended up spending a few hours with him drinking, and he sold him (Taillon) a knife.”
“He (Taillon) had a multi tool on him (with a knife) which is the tool Mr. Ormiston had sold him that day, so he grabbed the multi tool and hit him once, and when he stabbed him, the two men released him and he ran away. The next day he was arrested by police,” says Mandanici.
Mandanici says her client — who has mental health issues such as schizophrenia — has been homeless for “all his life,” and plans to return to working at a local orchard now that he’s been freed.
Crown counsel Sarah Firestone was very helpful in providing media with notes of key points of the trial in English after the verdict, and said the Crown will not be appealing the verdict.