Montreal Mafia homicide trial: Defence says informant was unreliable

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Scarfo is charged with the first-degree murders of Montreal Mafia leaders Rocco Sollecito and Lorenzo Giordano and two counts of conspiracy.

Dominico Scarfo is charged with the first-degree murders of Rocco Sollecito and Lorenzo Giordano. Dominico Scarfo is charged with the first-degree murders of Rocco Sollecito and Lorenzo Giordano. Sûreté du Québec

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The defence lawyer for Dominico Scarfo, the man on trial at the Gouin courthouse on charges alleging he murdered two Montreal Mafia leaders in 2016, began his closing arguments Friday by saying the Crown’s key witness provided testimony containing lies and “half-assed assertions.”

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Luc Trempe did not pull any punches as he attacked the credibility of the informant who began testifying on Feb. 25.

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The Crown’s theory is that Scarfo was the person who shot Lorenzo Giordano in 2016, while Giordano sat in the passenger seat of a car outside a gym in Laval where he trained. The prosecution also alleges Scarfo helped set up Rocco Sollecito for a hit carried out by the informant on May 27, 2016.

While secretly recording a conversation with Scarfo in 2019, the informant said the victims were the highest ranking members of the Montreal Mafia when they were killed.

“We did the two number ones in the Cosa Nostra, and we didn’t get paid,” the informant said on the recording, trying to get Scarfo to make incriminating statements.

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“There’s a theory to the Crown’s case but it’s just that, a theory, and the theory comes solely from (the informant’s) account of the events. And there are numerous reasons to conclude that (the informant) was not being truthful in any of his accounts,” Tempe told the jury. “(The informant) is unreliable — unreliable for the very reason he was before you. He was a civil undercover agent paid to the tune of half a million dollars for the work that he did and for the testimony he gave you.

“He is unreliable because of the way he testified before you. He made a mockery of the justice system by going off completely in an unhinged manner. I just have to point you to the first time you met (the informant).”

On Feb. 25, the informant, whose name cannot be published, began his time on the witness stand by outright refusing to testify. He then launched into a series of profanity-laced rants including a claim that he had been “f***ed in the a**” by the Sûreté du Québec because his contract with the police was not being respected.

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“He is unreliable because of his stated desire to ‘crucify’ Mr. Scarfo, which certainly can’t make him the most objective of witnesses. He is unreliable because of his desire for revenge for every real or imaginary slight he ever received,” Trempe said. “He is unreliable also because of what can be perceived as a loss of contact with reality.”

Trempe said Canada’s justice system requires details and “a certain amount of exactitude” from a witness. The witness said several times that he has ADHD when he was challenged on contradictions between his testimony and previous statements he gave to the Sûreté du Québec or while under oath.

“You need to be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt, and such a conviction cannot stand on vagueness or half-assed assertions,” the lawyer said.

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Trempe also argued that eyewitness accounts, in particular of the Giordano shooting, do not fit the Crown’s theory.

One eyewitness who provided evidence through a written statement described the man who shot Giordano as being about 25 years old, Trempe noted. Scarfo is 49 years old. The man witnessed what happened after the shooting from an office window above the car Giordano was seated in.

“There is no way Mr. Scarfo could be mistaken for a 25-year-old,” Trempe said.

The defence attorney also argued that the conversations with Scarfo that were secretly recorded provided little in terms of evidence because the informant did most of the talking. One of the informant’s handlers testified that the goal of such recordings is to let the subject talk.

“Obviously, (the informant) failed miserably in that aspect of his work,” Trempe said. “He occupies the conversation from beginning to end.”

Superior Court Justice Michel Pennou informed the members of the jury that he will begin giving his final instructions to them on Tuesday and they should expect to begin deliberating on Wednesday.

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  1. Sûreté du Québec and Laval police investigate the scene where Mafia leader Lorenzo Giordano was shot in 2016.

    Mafia murder trial: Key witness finally testifies after refusing to answer questions

  2. Dominico Scarfo pleaded not guilty to all four charges during his trial at the Gouin courthouse on Jan. 25, 2022.

    Mafia leader’s girlfriend was covered in blood after he was shot, murder trial witnesses say

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