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Alleged hammer attacker on trial in Summerside

SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I.- Gail Meunier knew Ryan McCarthy would be back when she put the run to him in October 2017.

That day, McCarthy went to Meunier’s home and accused her of giving cigarettes to a young female relative of his. He demanded cigarettes or money in exchange for not telling police, Meunier told P.E.I. Supreme Court Wednesday.

Allegedly on Jan. 29, 2018, McCarthy was back to Meunier’s house, where he hit her in the head with a hammer before taking off with cash she had been saving for a new dishwasher.

McCarthy is on trial this week for five charges from that night: breaking and entering into a home, covering his face with intent to commit an indictable offence, assault with a weapon - a hammer, assault and theft with violence.

The October altercation got loud. “The neighbours could hear us,” she said. Meunier sent McCarthy away and told him to never come back.

“The whole bunch in the car was laughing at him, so we kind of kept an eye on him in case he came back,” said Meunier.

Meunier and her daughter, Louise Barlow, testified in court Wednesday. Both said they could recognize McCarthy by his voice and his eyes, showing above his face covering.

The court learned a box that was allegedly taken was a birthday gift Meunier was waiting to open.

McCarthy had been to the home several times before, always with the same friend. McCarthy always seemed cranky, said Meunier.

“If he talked normal, I wouldn’t have known who he was”

Once Crown attorney John Diamond finished calling his witnesses, defence counsel Robert Rideout called just one, Damien Gallant.

Rideout wanted to use a screenshot of a Facebook messenger conversation between Gallant and McCarthy to cast doubt on the timeline.

When it came time for Diamond to cross-examine, he asked detailed questions about how the screenshot was obtained.

Gallant explained he still had the exchange on his phone, “out there” and gestured to the hallway.

Rideout and McCarthy’s family scrambled to retrieve Gallant’s phone from the hallway.

Justice Tracey Clements stopped proceedings to ask what was happening.

Rideout, holding Gallant’s cell phone in his hand, said he was just helping.

Justice Clements consented to letting the sheriff hold the witness’s phone during a lunchtime adjournment.

Before the court re-convened, Rideout was discussing the case with the family in the presence of the witness, contrary to specific instructions from the justice.

At the request of the sheriff, Rideout and the family reluctantly left. McCarthy rolled his eyes and muttered, “stupid” as he left.

After lunch recess, Gallant finished his testimony about the entirety of a Facebook messenger conversation that took place from 8:26 p.m. to 9:32 p.m. on Jan. 29.

All witnesses have now testified.

Justice Clements adjourned the trial until Feb 28.


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