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4 min

Assault trial on Michael Marcil stretches into a new week

Defence calls Sheri Rand to the witness stand; news of a civil lawsuit is heard

Michael Marcil as Dixie Landers

The assault trial on Michael Marcil — drag queen Dixie Landers — continued on Monday, March 29 with new revelations and a key witness, Sheri Rand, being called to the stand.

Marcil suffered severe injuries after Andrew Ronald Lefebvre, 28, allegedly punched him in the head following an altercation between Marcil and Rand, Lefebvre’s girlfriend, at Centretown Pub on May 26, 2007.

Before Rand was called to the stand, Crown attorney Riad Tallim cross-examined Lefebvre.

Throughout the cross-examination, the Crown pointed to discrepancies between statements made by Lefebvre on May 26, 2007, and Lefebvre’s statements on the witness stand on March 25, 2010. The jury listened to an audiotape of the statements made to the police three years ago, which Tallim used to cross reference conflicting statements made by Lefebvre during the trial.

On the tape, Rand and Lefebvre were heard recounting the events leading to the altercation, descriptions of the altercation itself, detailed descriptions of two men helping Rand, Rand expressing her concerns to the police (“If this guy has HIV — and he is attacking me,” she said) and her concerns that Marcil had been hurt.

During the cross-examination, Lefebvre struggled to follow the Crown’s line of questioning — he was unable to answer questions directly, and he replied in sentences unrelated to the line of questioning.

The Crown attorney and the residing judge asked Lefebvre, more than once, to give a straight answer, not to interrupt and to talk slowly for court records.

Lefebvre was defensive with issues surrounding the media attention given to the incident. “He [Marcil] hit a woman, but because we are straight, it’s a gaybashing?” said Lefebvre.

In a new revelation, the Crown argued that Lefebvre’s first statement was given when he “had nothing to be concerned about,” but since then, Lefebvre had become the third party in a lawsuit by Rand against Marcil and Centretown Pub for $250,000. Tallim also went on to state that more changes occurred when Centretown Pub initiated a counter-suit. John Hale, Lefebvre’s lawyer, later confirmed that the counter-suit was filed in the fall of 2009.

Towards the end of the cross-examination, the Crown suggested to Lefebvre a scenario of the evening — where Marcil “calls on you and you accept it” — which was denied by Lefebvre.

“The bottom line is this girl gets her face bashed in and I’m accused. I don’t get it,” said Lefebvre.

Before calling Rand to the stand, Hale, Lefebvre’s lawyer, called Sgt Tracy, the investigating officer, to the stand. Hale drew attention to a meeting held at the Jack Purcell Community Centre in 2007, where the gay community “wanted answers to certain questions,” said Tracey. Hale also drew attention to the fact that Tracey referred Rand to the Victim’s Crisis Unit because of her emotional state.

In his questioning of Tracey, the Crown attorney confirmed that Tracy referred Rand to the unit because she was afraid of contracting HIV from her alleged attacker, Marcil.

In the late afternoon Hale called Rand to the witness stand.

When confirming her personal details, Rand stated she no longer lived in Ottawa but would not say where she lived as she had concerns for her safety.

Hale started his questioning by showing photos of Rand and friends at her own birthday gathering in April 2007, held at Centretown Pub. When asked if she held any negative views about gays, Rand answered, “No, I don’t, and I don’t associate with people who do.”

Hale then went on to show photos taken on the night of May 26 — Steven Cody Fairbairn’s belated birthday party. The photos showed Rand, Lefebvre, Fairbairn and Charles Nadeau at different points throughout the evening and one with Rand and Lefebvre kissing.

Rand, when asked by Hale, agreed that there were no signs of hostility towards her and Lefebvre — because of their display of affection — and that everyone in the pub was friendly and having fun.

Hale also asked Rand to describe the layout of the pub. Rand described the third floor as “where gay men go and have random sexual intercourse.”

Rand confirmed that towards the end of evening, Fairbairn left Centretown Pub without her. Rand stated that when she, Lefebvre and Nadeau left the pub she went ahead and called Fairbairn to “give them crap for leaving me at the bar.” She said that while using the phone, she took her shoes off and then “heard yelling.”

According to Rand, she heard Marcil saying to Lefebvre something along the lines of “What are you doing here straight boy? We don’t want you here.” When she saw Marcil walk towards Lefebvre, Rand went to diffuse the situation.

“He smashed me in the mouth with a beer bottle,” said Rand.

Rand continued saying that over the next few days she had flashbacks of the night and put it all together. She stated that she did not recall seeing a beer bottle and did not remember the sound of glass breaking, but “I remember the feel of it.”

Rand recalls Marcil being on top of her, “punching my chest” and trying to get away from Marcil but cannot remember how the altercation ended.

Hale finished questioning Rand by showing photos of Rand’s injuries — two broken top teeth, fractured bottom teeth (that were pushed into her jaw), split lip and bruises on her feet and legs.

He also confirmed that as a result from the injuries, Rand has to wear a plate in her mouth that must be removed when she eats or sleeps and that, as the surgery required is classified as cosmetic surgery, it is not covered by insurance. Rand confirmed that, to date, she has paid $1,000 out of her own pocket, and another $17,000 is needed for further surgery.

The trial continues Tuesday.