Excerpts from Chris Morris—Legislature Bureau—Nov. 9, 2016
Jury begins deliberations in python trial
Campbellton- The jury has begun deliberations in the criminal negligence trial arising from the deaths of 2 little boys who were killed by what was described as a “mean” python that escaped its enclosure.
After a week of testimony at a courthouse in Campbellton,Jean-Claude Savoie should know soon whether he has been found guilty or not guilty of criminal negligence causing the deaths of brothers Connor Barthe,6 and Noah Barthe,4 on Aug. 5, 2013.
Justice Fred Ferguson,the presiding judge at the Court of Queen’s Bench trial,described the complexities of the law surrounding the charge of criminal negligence causing death in his final instructions to the jury on Wednesday morning.
He made it clear to jurors that to find Savoie guilty,they must agree that his conduct showed “a marked and substantial departure from what a reasonably prudent person would do in the same circumstances.”
Ferguson also stressed the importance of “reasonable doubt” telling jurors that while there cannot be absolute certainty,it is not enough for them to decide Savoie is probably guilty.
The judge also is providing a review of the evidence in the tragic case in which the 2 boys were killed by an aggressive African rock python that crawled out of its pen in Savoie’s apartment through a ceiling air vent. The snake then fell through the ceiling above where the boys were sleeping on a mattress on the living room floor.
The almost 4 meter long snake used its coils to constrict the children,asphyxiating them.