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Wrong man charged in death of woman, witness testifies at trial

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In a surprise court hearing after the Crown concluded its case for the prosecution, a defense witness testified Thursday that the wrong man is accused in the death of a motorist in 2019.

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Joseph Malin, 25, is being tried by Supreme Court Justice Rene Pomerance, for dangerous driving causing death, public injury and obstruction of justice after two cars collided at 5400 Reginald Street (on George Avenue) on the night of February 14, 2019.

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A silver Cadillac owned by Malin’s mother and several of her passengers collided with a white Chrysler sedan driven by Karen Kelly, 69, who died of her injuries after 12 days in hospital.

Brad Jones, who lives at the scene, testified that he saw a man getting out of the driver’s side of a wrecked Cadillac, “look at me square in the eye” and then “booked” on the street. He added that Malin exited from the passenger side and remained there until police and emergency services arrived.

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During questioning by defense attorney John Setter, Jones further testified that Malin made a phone call, shouting that it was his mother’s car and that “the driver ran, the driver ran.” He said it was “really weird” for Malin to keep saying “driver” and not that person’s name. Jones said Malin kept going up and down while one of the occupants of the car was “standing there” quietly.

Windsor police, who said there were four passengers in the Cadillac, initially charged another person, but those charges were later dropped and Malin was later mentioned as being behind the wheel.

The evidence we have heard .. does it not raise a reasonable doubt?

Jones was the only witness given by the defense, and his testimony seemed to surprise the judge and the others. Before Assistant Crown Prosecutor Jonathan Lal began his closing arguments after the trial that began in May, Pomerans questioned whether the prosecution still had a case.

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“The evidence we heard this morning, how could that not raise a reasonable doubt?” Lal asked. She said Jones’ testimony “significantly changed the appearance of the case”.

Lal told the judge that the Crown still had a case and noted that the witness stated that the person who fled the scene got out of the Cadillac on the driver’s side. “The driver’s side does not mean the driver’s seat,” he said.

“This witness is absolutely certain that Mr. Malin was not in the driver’s seat,” Pomerance said, adding that Jones appeared to have nothing to do with the parties involved and had “no reason to be anything wrong.”

The judge said she was “disturbed” that a witness in the prosecution who knew who “could provide exculpatory evidence” – information that might help in the defendant’s acquittal – was not called as the Crown Prince’s witness.

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Jones gave a police statement in the days after the incident, but his eyewitness account was not part of the Crown trial case. Sitter told The Star that Jones’ information was not mentioned in the initial hearing or other previous stages of court proceedings that began three years ago.

  1. Reader submitted photo of a silver Cadillac that collided with another vehicle on George Street and Reginald Street in East Windsor on the night of February 14, 2019. The Cadillac driver fled the scene.

    Windsor Police charge new suspect in George Avenue crash

  2. A reader submitted photo of a white Chrysler 200 that came to rest on a residential property after colliding with a Cadillac sedan on George Street and Reginald Street on the night of February 14, 2019. Karen Kelly, 69, a Chrysler chauffeur, later died of her injuries.

    Windsor Police raise charges in fatal George Street crash

More than once, Judge Pomerance addressed the family members of the deceased motorist who were sitting on the public balcony of the courtroom. She said she was “fully aware of the loss” to family and friends from the tragic deaths of a mother and grandmother and that Thursday’s courtroom proceedings were likely difficult and emotional for some.

Pomerance said that “the rule of law is being applied” and that the accused “need only to raise reasonable doubt” about his alleged guilt.

“I hope everyone stays calm,” the judge said.

Jones also testified that he discovered the person who escaped that night before testifying in the courtroom. “I saw the guy driving the car – it was the guy who was driving in the hall.”

The prosecution and defense will present their closing arguments on October 6.

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