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Raynsford provoked killing, jury told

Defence calls gay man 'predatory'

ATTENTIVE AND TAKING NOTES. The jury has appeared engaged in the trial throughout, but they have not been screened for homophobic views. Credit: (Samnang Touch)

Sabastien Roy’s lawyer called beating Chris Raynsford in his home “not excessive” and “a reasonable reaction” to the suggestion of sex by the victim. Defence lawyer Gary Barnes painted a picture of Raynsford as “sexually aggressive” and “predatory” during closing arguments heard on Nov 7.

Raynsford’s decomposed body was found in his Lisgar St apartment on Dec 4, 2002, 10 days after witnesses saw Raynsford and Roy leaving Centretown Pub together. His arms and legs were bound with cables, phone cords and sheets, and he was tethered to the wall. The apartment was a mess and there was blood on the floor, walls and ceiling.

At the time Roy was a muscular, 23-year-old drifter; Raynsford was a slight 34-year-old who had been living with AIDS since 1994. The two met at Centretown Pub, a popular gay nightspot in Ottawa.

Roy’s defence team argued that Roy left Raynsford tied up but alive, and is therefore asking the jury for an acquittal. However, if Roy did kill Raynsford, they argue, it was provoked.

Barnes told the jury that Raynsford often picked up men at bars and on the Internet. He told the jury that Raynsford approached Roy “in the predatory way that was his habit” and “lured” him with offers of food and lodging into his home, where he tried to “force sex” on him by grabbing his shoulders.

That’s when Roy freaked out, beating and tying up Raynsford, Barnes said.

“The reason ? the whole reason ? was the aggressive sexual act,” he told the jury.

“In our law, when someone is legally provoked and a death results from the provocation… that’s a manslaughter.”

Barnes also told the jury that Raynsford might have been on drugs.

“Mr Raynsford went to Toronto and Montreal to gay parties where the use of recreational drugs was common,” Barnes said.

He said that Raynsford’s financial difficulty could also be attributed to spending money on illicit drugs. The toilet seat was moved in Raynsford’s apartment because his attacker knew he was looking for drugs, he suggested, adding that Raynsford’s friend characterized him as “hyper” on the evening he was seen with Roy.

“Even though it makes us look harsh,” Barnes told the jury, “It’s our job to bring it up.”

The jury will be sequestered until they are ready to return a verdict. If convicted, Roy will be sentenced by Justice Robert Maranger.