Accused killer dismisses lawyer partway through Toronto murder trial
Michael Ivezic, charged with the first-degree murder of his former lover’s husband, has become the latest accused killer to represent himself at trial.
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Last week, Michael Ivezic joined the growing list of accused killers deciding to represent themselves at trial.
Ivezic and his former lover, Demitry Papasotiriou-Lanteigne, are charged with the first-degree murder of the latter’s husband, Allan Lanteigne, who was beaten to death in his Ossington Ave. home on March 2, 2011.
At the start of the jury trial in November, prosecutors said they intended to prove the pair conspired to kill the University of Toronto accounting clerk in order to collect a $2 million life insurance policy.
Papasotiriou-Lanteigne is represented by defence lawyer Garbriel Gross-Stein. Marcy Segal was Ivezic’s counsel, until suddenly she was not.
Last Tuesday, after jurors returned to the court following an extended break, Superior Court Justice Robert Goldstein apologized to them for the delay and explained the courtroom lineup had changed.
He didn’t go into details.
“Mr. Ivezic is now representing himself in this trial. He is no longer represented by Ms. Segal,” he told the jurors, some wearing puzzled expressions.
“Do not try and guess why Mr. Ivezic is no longer represented by a lawyer . . . it has nothing to do with your decision or anything you have to decided at this trial.”
“Mr. Ivezic made the decision to dismiss his lawyer. It is the right of every person before the courts to represent him- or herself and Mr. Ivezic has decided to avail himself of that right . . . You should take nothing from that, that he’s decided to avail himself that way.”
So have others in the downtown courthouse.
Last year, Xiu Jin Teng defended herself on a charge of the first-degree murder of her husband in 2012. A jury found her guilty. Dellen Millard was also self-represented when he was convicted last year of killing Laura Babcock.
Goldstein told jurors in the Papasotiriou-Lanteigne and Ivezic case he has appointed two “amicus” lawyers, who are “friends of the court” and there to assist him.
With that, Ivezic was on his feet, behind a podium in front of the jury box, picking up the cross-examination of a Toronto police detective where Segal left off.
For several days, Ivezic grilled the officer about the handling of evidence and whether the proper procedures were followed, sometimes removing his dark framed glasses to make a point.
On occasion, he cut to the chase.
“Is there any (video) evidence that exists that shows me, Michael Ivezic, in the vicinity of 934 Ossington on the night of the murder?” he asked the detective. No, was the response.
Several times, the judge instructed on Ivezic on the procedurally correct way to ask questions.
“You have to cut me some slack, I’m new at this,” Ivezic told Goldstein.
The trial resumes in front of the jury Wednesday.
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