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Trial resumes for Nanaimo woman accused of killing ex-boyfriend

Paris Jayanne Laroche, 28, on trial for murder and dismemberment
The trial of Nanaimo woman Paris Laroche, 28, accused of murder and interference with a dead body, resumed in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Wednesday, April 17. (News Bulletin file photo)

Pet welfare was a focus as the B.C. Supreme Court trial for a Nanaimo woman accused of killing and dismembering her ex-boyfriend re-started after a nine-week delay.

Paris Jayanne Laroche, 28, is charged with first-degree murder and interfering with a dead body in the missing person case of Sidney Joseph Mantee, who was said to have abused Laroche. The case resumed Wednesday, April 17, in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver.

Nick Barber, co-Crown counsel, had requested adjournment in order to consider the testimony of Amy Fitzgerald, professor and undergraduate chairperson of the department of sociology and criminology at the University of Windsor, and as new witnesses came forward with information about Laroche allegedly abusing an animal.

Proceedings were delayed in mid-February while Fitzgerald was on the stand as an expert witness for the defence, testifying that Mantee’s alleged abuse of Laroche’s cat could have motivated her to kill him in a form of self-defence. In some instances, abused partners will disregard their own safety to protect their animal, according to the professor’s testimony.

RELATED: Defence argues abuse of Nanaimo woman, cat, led to ex’s killing

Barber argued the testimony was not admissible as he wasn’t sure why it was being put forward and he questioned its relevance, but ultimately, justice Robin Baird determined evidence pertaining to partner violence and mistreatment of animals could be considered in his decision.

The Crown also made an application to call two people, who would testify about observing Laroche kicking a dog, but Robyn Young, co-defence counsel, argued that information was already entered into record from another witness’ testimony and occurred more than two years before Mantee was killed. The application was subsequently withdrawn.

Closing arguments are expected to begin Thursday, April 18.

Sabrina Avery is representing Crown along with Barber. Glen Orris is representing Laroche along with Young.

The trial had originally been scheduled to take place in Nanaimo, but was re-located to Vancouver as there were no facilities to house Laroche locally.

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