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UPDATE: Jury finds Lefebvre not guilty of assault

Stay tuned for analysis of the verdict this afternoon

UPDATED Apr 1, 11am: The jury has found Andrew Ronald Lefebvre not guilty of assault. Stay tuned for more details this afternoon.

UPDATED Mar 31, 5:40pm: On Wednesday both the Crown attorney, Riad Tallim and the Defense, John Hale, gave their submissions to the jury at the assault trial of Andrew Ronald Lefebvre.

In addressing the jury, Hale argued that Lefebvre, 28, on the night of May 26, 2007, committed an act of involuntary assault on Michael Marcil. Hale stated that Lefebvre stepped in to protect his girlfriend at the time, Sheri-Lee Rand.

In addressing the jury Tallim told the jury that the Crown’s position was to tender “credible and trustworthy” evidence. He stated that the Crown was seeking a conviction of assault with intent to bodily harm.

The jury retired from the court for deliberation and has been sequestered in a hotel for the night. A verdict is expected as early as tomorrow.

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Emotions run high as former girlfriend testifies at Lefebvre trial
Sheri Rand says memory of events gradually came back to her

On Tuesday, Sheri Rand, 32, took the stand for a second day in the trial of Andrew Ronald Lefebvre, 28.

Lefebvre is charged with assault following a late-night altercation at an Ottawa gay bar, Centretown Pub, in May 2007. That incident left Michael Marcil, better known as drag queen Dixie Landers, in a coma.

In the morning, defence lawyer John Hale continued his examination of Rand.

Rand said that, when leaving the Centretown Pub, she heard Marcil make a derogatory comment towards Lefebvre.

She testified that she stepped in to intervene and that she remembers being hit in the face and lying on the ground while Marcil punched her. She also recalled that she had a “vision of him putting me in a chokehold.”

Rand’s next memory is her sitting by the lamppost with the paramedic attempting to calm her down.

Hale asked Rand about a statement she gave to the police on the afternoon of May 26, 2007.

“They weren’t there to investigate. They were there to see if I was all right,” said Rand.

Rand told the court she only began to remember events of the evening more fully as time went on.

Hale confirmed that, in June, Rand found out that charges had been laid against her. At the time, she hired Hale as her attorney.

Rand went to the Elgin St police station in August to press charges against Marcil because, in Rand’s words, “my attacker wasn’t charged.”

After the police refused her request, she went to a second police station to try to press charges.

At the station, Rand handed in a typed statement she had written. Because typed statements are not accepted, she filed a written statement and she also answered police questions.

Hale confirmed that Rand had requested a new investigation and a new investigating officer. After waiting three weeks, Rand said she called the police, only to be told that she had been assigned the same investigating officer.

The defence rested and the Crown attorney, Riad Tallim, cross-examined Rand.

Tallim began his cross-examination by asking Rand what were her reasons for wanting to press charges against Marcil, and had her lawyer, John Hale, given her any advice.

“As I recall, Mr Hale was uncertain of what could be done,” said Rand.

Tallim then turned his attention to the “elephant” in the room. While Hale had insinuated “that this was a hate crime,” he assured the jury that the Crown’s theory was “that this is an unprovoked crime” but not a hate crime.

The Crown returned to Rand’s comments about Centretown Pub’s third floor and the fact the bathrooms are unisex. Rand reiterated her position with regards to the gay community and added, “I am not a gaybasher or a gay hater by any means.”

Tallim then asked Rand why she was testifying. Rand said that she had emailed Hale saying that she wanted to take the stand.

When asked if the reason she testified was connected with the $250,000 lawsuit she had filed, Rand replied, “I am here because Andrew protected me.”

Tallim then suggested that Rand was in court on a “mission.”

“I have not been able to tell my side for three years,” said Rand. She also added that “I did not get any justice and I deserve it.”

Tallim suggested that Rand had ample opportunities to tell her side  — in May 2007 when Rand gave her first statement; in August 2007 when she gave a written statement; at the preliminary hearing; and to the lawyer dealing with her civil case.

Rand replied that she has not been able to “tell the story to any outsider, to the public.” She went on to state that her searching her name on the internet brought up “thousands and thousands” of hits and that she had “been completely blacklisted.”

The Crown then suggested that Rand’s testimony was an act.

“Oh really? I must be a good actress,” said Rand.

He then confirmed that she felt she was a victim and that she did not want to be seen as a “gaybasher.”

In the afternoon, Tallim asked Rand if she thought that her statement in May 2007 was accurate. “No, I disagree,” said Rand. When Tallim suggested that there was nothing in the transcript (of the audiotape) to suggest that her memory was hazy during her first interview, Rand said, “That’s what I recalled at the time.”

Tallim pointed out similarities of statements between Rand and witnesses Donald Theoret and Charles Nadeau. He also pointed out Lefebvre’s version of the May 26 incident was “reversed” to hers.

Tallim suggested a sequence of events leading up to the altercation. He stated that in all the statements made by witnesses that “no one else sees you get struck in the face with a beer bottle.”

“Funny how that happens,” said Rand.

Rand would not comment on what happened while she was on the sidewalk — when Theoret said that Lefebvre returned to the patio and punched Marcil three or four times.

The trial resumes on Wednesday with closing arguments.