Top News

UPDATED: Christopher Garnier murder trial continues in death of Catherine Campbell

Christopher Calvin Garnier, charged with second-degree murder in the death of Truro police officer Const. Catherine Campbell, is seen entering the courtroom.
ANDREW VAUGHAN – THE CANADIAN PRESS
Christopher Calvin Garnier, charged with second-degree murder in the death of Truro police officer Const. Catherine Campbell, is seen entering the courtroom. ANDREW VAUGHAN – THE CANADIAN PRESS

UPDATE 12 p.m.: The first witness to take the stand on Tuesday, Nov. 28, was Halifax Regional Police Sgt. Tony Croft.

On Sept. 15, 2015 he retrieved and seized a neck chain thrown onto the roof of 2606 Agricola Street. He identified the photos of it in court. He then searched green bins in the immediate area but did not find anything. He was then notified that wheel tracks had been found underneath the Macdonald Bridge, in front of cement support pillars.

He attended this area after midnight. Croft learned that a green bin was found in a wooded area by the bridge. Photos were shown to the court near where human remains were found. Photos showed the area looking down from an embankment, shots of a brown cat box in an area of foliage.

"We have now removed the brush and the foliage off the body," Croft told the court.

The box was partially atop the body. A neck tattoo was seen on the body. Photos and video were taken of the cat box and the surrounding area. Croft said the body was placed in a gurney and secured at 3:30 a.m. on Sept. 15. He said the body had a right ribcage tattoo of some Scripture.

Police returned to the scene at the bridge to gather evidence. Beer cans and a Tim Hortons cup were found nearby.

The court was then shown photos of the accused, Garnier, after police had him in custody. Police took a number of photos of Garnier to check for injury. His foot and shin was also photographed. An indentation and mark was found on his left ankle.

Under cross-examination by the defence, Croft said the chain found was likely a male one. He testified that a scrape was seen on Garnier’s right shoulder, but there were no injuries in the bottom of his feet.

•••

The search for a compost bin believed to be connected to the disappearance of Catherine Campbell led to the discovery of her remains according to testimony presented in court Monday.

Halifax Regional Police officer Adam Cole on the Central Quick Response Unit was searching the area near the bridge just before midnight on Sept. 15, 2015 he testified in court on Monday as the murder trial for Christopher Garnier continued into its second week.

He said he walked south from the bridge ramp parallel to Barrington Street, searching in the shrubbery. At 11:49 p.m. he received a call advising him that a green bin had been located near the ramp road. Cole headed up the embankment near the bridge with a flashlight. It was an area of bushes and trees. He saw a box and said "the hairs on my neck started to stand," and "When I lifted it I could see hair."

He saw the body of what looked like a Caucasian person with a neck tattoo and silver chain. The body was positioned face-down. The hair looked dark. Cole did not attempt to move the body before the medical examiner arrived.

Detective-constable Randy Wood of the Halifax Regional Police was one of the initial people on scene. Wood testified that he lifted up the box and saw a human remains with the back exposed from the waist up. Wood saw two tattoos between the shoulder blades. Video footage of the box and the body's exposed back was shown in court.

While no one has testified yet that the body was identified as Campbell’s, police have previously stated that her body was found in the area. Garnier has been charged with second degree murder in the death of Campbell, a police officer in Truro who had grown up in Stellarton. Police believe Campbell was murdered on Sept. 11, 2015.

The Crown has alleged that Garnier used a compost bin to dispose of Campbell’s body.

Other witnesses who took the stand Monday testified about seeing a man pushing a compost bin in the early hours of Sept. 11.

The first witness to take the stand Monday was garbage truck driver Ronald Macdonald.

He was driving his truck alone in the North End in the early hours of Sept. 11, 2015 when he saw a man walking with a compost bin on Agricola Street. He saw the male in front of Gus's Pub pushing the bin with his hands. He described the man as walking in bare feet with a scruffy face, wearing blue shorts and a red shirt. Macdonald was about two hours into a shift that started at 3 a.m. on Sept. 11. He was shown a security video of a man with a bin and confirmed it appeared to be the same person he had seen.

The next witness was Andrew Golding, whose route to work took him down Agricola and North Streets in the morning of Sept. 11, 2015. He saw a person turning off Agricola on foot pulling a green compost bin just before 5 a.m. Golding described the person as a white male in a light t-shirt and darker shorts.

"It was obvious that he was carrying some weight," Golding told the court. He added that "he appeared to be somewhat hostile," with "a strange look on his face."

Golding, under cross-examination, also said he had "a frown, a grimace on his face...as if he was under physical or mental duress."

Halifax Regional Police officer Jonathan Beer also testified. He viewed security footage from the Macdonald Bridge on Sept. 17, 2015. Footage picked up after 5 a.m. on Sept. 11, 2015 showed a blurry figure walking on the on-ramp connecting North and Barrington Streets just before the bridge entrance. The figure was also seen dragging the bin across a road crossing on the other side of the bridge. A shadow then appears and is not dragging anything. A bracelet from the Cheers bar was found nearby.

Recent Stories