A disturbing Facebook video and a grisly PowerPoint presentation highlighted Day 2 in the trial of Tarrick Fakira-Martin, charged in St. Thomas with injuring an animal.
The accused was led into the courtroom Wednesday morning in handcuffs after his arrest late Tuesday on three counts of breach of bail conditions on an unrelated charge.
Fakira-Martin was charged in July of last year after St. Thomas Police received reports from residents in the area of St. Catherine and Meda streets regarding the well-being of a dog.
He pleaded not guilty Monday at the Elgin County Courthouse to charges of injuring his dog Lady, a female German shepherd.
The first witness Wednesday, Aaron Watt, a neighbour of Fakira-Martin, said he saw Lady and her owner almost every day and often gave him dog food when he had no money.
Watt described the dog as “timid and scared” as if she was afraid of Fakira-Martin. He noted Lady appeared “malnourished” and “small for her size” and she had been limping for several weeks.
He felt Fakira-Martin was “borderline abusive” and advised him not to be so hard on the dog.
He recounted details of an afternoon sometime in June spent with friends beside Kettle Creek where Fakira-Martin had been drinking heavily. On at least three occasions, he threw the dog in the water even though the animal was not willing.
Watt described Fakira-Martin as “extremely intoxicated” and he did not consider throwing the dog into the water as “playful behaviour.”
When questioned further by defense lawyer William Glover on the events of July 3 of last year, the day St. Thomas police acting on a tip discovered a shallow grave containing the body of a dog later identified as Lady, Watt said he saw Fakira-Martin with the animal walking toward a grassy area at the end of St. Catharine Street adjacent to the rail yard.
He later saw Fakira-Martin return from that area without his dog.
When he found out Lady was dead, Watt said he was angry with Fakira-Martin but initially denied posting a video on Facebook calling for justice for Lady and describing her owner as “a scumbag.”
When Glover played the video, Watt conceded he had posted it with the comment, “We need to fix this, please share.”
On the video, Watt can be heard saying, “He (Fakira-Martin) got the shit kicked out of him pretty good . . . Fuck the system.”
Which prompted Glover to ask, “So you don’t trust the justice system?”
“It was personal,” responded Watt.
“So you would do or say anything to punish him for his behaviour,” suggested Glover.
The day concluded with a PowerPoint presentation based on results from an external and internal examination of Lady undertaken by Dr. Murray Hazlett, a veterinary pathologist at the University of Guelph.
He documented ulcers or lesions on her head and face and a nine centimetre cut on her head.
Internally Lady had suffered from a broken thigh bone which had healed on its own, leaving the leg shorter due to the overlap of bone.
Her liver had been ruptured which led to bleeding in her abdomen. Hazlett said this was a recent injury, perhaps two or three hours before her death.
There were signs of kidney hemorrhaging with blood and fluid in the lungs.
Lady had suffered a loss of blood, however, Hazlett said this was not the cause of death.
The internal injuries were due to blunt force trauma, which could have been the result of a human fist or kick.
Several members of the public were in tears during Hazlett’s testimony and Fakira-Martin covered his eyes throughout that time and was visibly shaking at one point, prompting Glover to ask for a short break.
Day 3 on Thursday will begin at 9:30 a.m. with testimony from Jennifer Curtis who has video evidence relating to Lady. Following that, Hazlett will be cross-examined by Glover in what is expected to be the final day of the trial.
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