Excerpt from a news article by Chris Morris—Legislature Bureau–Nov. 8,2016
Snake expert testifies in ongoing trial
CAMPBELLTON- A snake expert testifying for the defense at the Campbellton python trial says there’s “no way in hell” he would have thought a large African rock python could have squeezed through the ventilation pipe it used to escape and kill two little boys.
Eugene Bessette, a snake farmer in Archer,Florida,was the only witness for the defense on Monday which means Jean-Claude Savoie ,the man accused of criminal negligence causing the deaths of brothers Connor and Noah Barthe,will not be testifying.
Bessette will return to the stand on Tuesday for possible cross-examination by Crown prosecutor Pierre Roussel . That will be the end of testimony since both the Crown and the defense will have called all of their witnesses.
The jury likely will begin deliberations on Wednesday,following closing arguments and the charge by trial judge,Justice Fred Ferguson.
The defense and the prosecution presented dueling snake experts on Monday,with Bessette supporting the defense position that Savoie did not bother fixing an open ventilation duct in the python ‘s enclosure because he assumed,like others,the snake would not fit through the hole and the pipe.
“Based on what I know,I would have assumed there is no way in hell that snake could have got through that pipe,”Bessette told the jury.
“I wouldn’t have been worried.But I would have been wrong.”
Bessette said he was “shocked and astounded’ when he looked at photos of the evidence,including the roughly four-inch wide ventilation pipe and the snake,which measured 4.25 inches in diameter at its widest point,with a head that was 2.5 inches wide.
“I am amazed a snake that big got through that hole,but it did.”said Bessette who raises and sells thousands of pythons and other snakes at his Florida operation.
“That was a big snake. that was a small hole.”
Savoie’s lawyer,Les Matchim,presented the defense theory to the jury on Monday,focusing on the issue of predictability in the criminal negligence case. Matchim
said the negligence accusation boils down to whether Savoie’s failure to cover the open ventilation duct in the snake’s enclosure constitutes criminal negligence.
“Mr. Savoie came to the determination that the snake could never escape. It just didn’t fit through the pipe.”he sid.
“Mr.Savoie was wrong ,but according to the law, being wrong isn’t necessarily criminal negligence.”
Court resumes on Wed., Nov. 9.2016.