UPDATED: Friends continue testimony in Amber Kirwan murder trial

Mason Campbell is expected to take stand later today

Published on January 8, 2014
Chris Falconer

After a morning recess, Renee Avery took the stand for the Crown. She was also at the same party at Kirwan's apartment on Oct. 8 with Fiander, Curley and Chickness.


She said she worked with Kirwan at Proudfoots and had a close relationship with her.

 "I treated her like a sister," said Avery. "I loved her like my little sister."

 Similar to the other witnesses, Avery confirmed the photos in Crown exhibits looked the same as the clothing and jewelry that Kirwan was wearing the night she disappeared.

She was one of the first people to arrive at the party and said everyone was drinking alcohol. Some people were watching the hockey game and others were making plans to go to Dooly’s.

Avery said she was planning to go to Dooly’s with the group, but didn't get in the cab with Kirwan or the other women because there was no room. A second cab was called and she waited at the apartment with Campbell, Ian Muir and her boyfriend.

At 1:41 a.m. when she talking to Muir, who was outside at the end of the driveway waiting for cab, she received a call from Kirwan who was using another person's cell phone.  She said Kirwan questioned why she wasn't at the bar and asked to speak to Campbell.  Avery walked back to the apartment and handed Campbell the phone and a short time later she said he left to pick her up.

 "He wanted to meet somewhere," said Avery. "I don't know if it was the insurance on the car or inspection, but he didn't want to be right down town."

She said Campbell returned to the apartment a while later without Kirwan and when she asked where she was, he said she didn't show up and assumed she was with her friends.  Avery said she knew Kirwan didn't have her phone with her because she remembers her asking if she should leave it at home.

Avery said Campbell's mood was "fine" when he returned and he played guitar in the kitchen with her boyfriend before she fell asleep on the couch.

The next morning before leaving his home, she glanced into Campbell's bedroom and saw someone laying in his bed asleep. Later in the day, she messaged Kirwan on Facebook to which Campbell replied that she still wasn't home.

"He said he contacted her parents and they were contacting the police," she said.

Under cross examination, Taylor asked Avery to clarify a bit of her testimony by asking what she saw herself that evening and what she heard through conversations.

He asked her if she actually saw Muir leave with Campbell in a car to pick up Kirwan or did the second cab arrive to pick him up?  Avery replied that she didn't actually see the two men leave together.

"Some things you recall that night, others things are mixed in with other information given to you and not your specific recollection?"  Taylor asked.

Testimony continues this afternoon in Pictou Supreme Court.



PICTOU - The first-degree murder trial of Christopher Falconer continued Wednesday morning with more testimony from her friends who were with her on Oct. 8.Two friends, Christie Fiander and Morgan Curley, testified Tuesday afternoon about a party at Kirwan's home in Pictou Landing that she shared with her boyfriend Mason Campbell. Fiander and Curley said they left Kirwan's apartment later in the evening in a taxi and headed to Dooly's.

Both witnesses confirmed that the black sweater, leggings and blue and black top shown to them in photos by the Crown looked identical to the clothing that Kirwan was wearing that night. They also said she was wearing feather earrings. 

This morning, another friend, Maggie Chickness took the witness stand and shared a similar story as the two previous young women. She said she had known Kirwan since grade school and described Kirwan's relationship with Campbell as typical high school dating.

"They got along well. They were both really nice people," she said. "I got along good with Mason. I wasn't close with him but knew him."

Chickness also identified the clothing in the exhibit photos as identical to that of what Kirwan was wearing the night she disappeared. She said the clothes looked the same as Kirwan's except in the photos, her shirt and sweater are dirty and torn.

She said when they got to Dooly's, she paid her admission, got her hand stamped and spent most of the night with her boyfriend. However, Chickness testified that she did speak to Kirwan outside the bar who said she was annoyed that Mason wasn't at Dooly's. 

Chickness said she walked for pizza after leaving the bar and received a phone call from Campbell asking where Kirwan was at. She said she texted Kirwan, but realized right away that she didn't have her phone because Campbell texted her back on Kirwan's phone. She said he called again the next morning saying she didn't show up and sounded frantic on the phone. 

Defense lawyer Mike Taylor did a brief cross examination of Chickness, asking her confirm that Kirwan was drinking Rock Star energy drinks and vodka that night. 

The morning recess took place right afterwards.