(THUNDER BAY, ON) – TRIAL WILL BE BY SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE ALONE AT A LATER DATE.
Appearing handcuffed in person in Courtroom 302 today, Thursday March 7,2019 is SHALDON PAUL RYAN WABASON.
WABASON is of average height and an athletic build. He has a fresh short haircut and a soul patch for facial hair. He’s wearing a very fresh white T-shirt and gray institutional pants.
WABASON was transferred earlier this week by TBPS Officers from the Saskatchewan Federal Penitentiary in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan to appear for court and be ready for jury trial.
Her Honour, Superior Court Justice Tracey Nieckarz is presiding. Crown Attorney Andrew Sadler is here along with famed Toronto Defence Attorney Devin Bains. Bains is being assisted by the very capable Natalie Simpson.
After a long day of discussions between the Attorneys and some pretrial with the Judge, a path forward is present.
At about 3:30pm, the joint decision is made to Justice Nieckarz to cancel the jury trial for next week.
WABASON through his lawyer Devin Bains is electing a trial by Judge alone.
The next court date will be Monday March 21,2019 to have the matter spoken to.
WABASON will now be transported back to Saskatchewan by TBPS Officers.
As per usual practice, no local taxpayer subsidized media is present.
HISTORY OF THE CASE
THE DEATH OF ROBERT TOPPING
After midnight on March 19, 2011 Topping went to assist Paulette Cloutier, on Minnesota Street.
Cloutier was concerned the house she was looking after for her son was about to be broken into and called Robert Topping. Several men kicked in the back door and tackled her to the floor with a knife held to her throat. They searched the house for drugs and valuables to steal.
Topping came on the scene and received 4 stab wounds in the back. He died from blood loss as a result of those stab wounds.
During the trial Wabason admitted he kicked down the door himself but testified he stayed outside the house only as a lookout.
WABASON left the house prior to Topping’s arrival.
WABASON was one of four people charged. CHRISTOPHER HAWK, CODY THOMPSON and NICHOLAS WEBBER were also arrested and charged.
CHRISTOPHER HAWK plead guilty to robbery and received a sentence of 2 years less one day and probation for three years.
CODY THOMPSON died in August 2011 a week after being rushed to hospital from the district jail, where he was being held in custody.
NICHOLAS WEBBER plead guilty to manslaughter and received a 10 years penitentiary sentence.
WABASON was convicted of manslaughter and break and enter to commit robbery at a jury trial in October 2015 for second-degree murder in the death of Robert Topping.
WABASON was sentenced to 10 years in jail for manslaughter on January 14,2016. He received 7 years concurrent on the break and enter charge. He received presentence credit of just over 6.5 years.
THE ONTARIO COURT OF APPEAL
An appeal was heard on January 29, 2018 as to whether the statement WABASON gave to police without a lawyer present was made voluntarily.
On February 26, 2018 the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled the statement given by the accused should not have been included in the evidence. (That court decision in documents below)
The Court of Appeal ordered a new trial to be held.
WE ARE ALMOST AT THE NEW TRIAL DATE.
Big thanks to our Inside Edition team member for getting the story today. They indicate that meeting Mr. Bains was a pleasure.