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Elliot Laker pleads not guilty to stabbing teenage girl

Sixteen years old at the time, the accused is facing three charges, including attempted murder, in connection with a knife attack that occurred in 2021
The Sault Ste. Marie Courthouse is pictured in this file photo. Michael Purvis/SooToday

A young Elliot Lake man has pleaded not guilty to three charges — including attempted murder — in connection with a knife attack on a teenage girl three years ago.

The accused, who was 16 at the time, can't be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act and a publication ban prohibits reporting information that may identify the complainant.

Last Wednesday, the first day of his jury trial at the Sault Ste. Marie courthouse, he also pleaded not guilty to aggravated assault stemming from the incident on March 11, 2021.

As well, he faces a charge of sexual assault for offences alleged to have occurred between Jan. 1 and March 11 of that year.

Superior Court Justice Michael Varpio told the jury the trial is expected to take three weeks.

Assistant Crown attorney Eve-Marie Talbot outlined the prosecution's case to the jurors, with an overview of the evidence she expects they would hear from witnesses, including the complainant, who was 17 at the time of the alleged offences.

The first witness to take the stand was an Ontario Provincial Police forensic identification officer.

Const. Matthew Lemieux, who is based at the Sault Ste. Marie detachment, was dispatched to the scene of the attack at 9:30 p.m. 

The 10-year officer arrived at the intersection of Axmith Avenue and Frame Crescent in a residential area of the town shortly after 1 a.m. on March 12.

He took photographs there, and then went to St. Joseph's General Hospital where he chronicled the victim's injuries and obtained a DNA sample.

Lemieux told jurors he also photographed the accused at the Elliot Lake OPP detachment and took pictures at two different locations where officers had obtained search warrants.

Assistant Crown attorney Robert Skeggs showed jurors three books of photos — one with 234 images — nearly all of which had been taken by Lemieux.

The officer testified he also gathered evidence, including the jacket the accused was wearing that night.

As well, he collected swabs of blood-like substances from numerous pieces of clothing worn by the victim and accused, which were sent to the Centre of Forensic Sciences for analysis. 

A knife, shoes and a knife block seized from the accused's home on March 12 were submitted to the forensics lab located at the Roberta Bondar building in the Sault.

Lemieux said he returned to the intersection in the daylight hours on March 13 and took further photos.

On Thursday, during cross-examination by defence lawyer Eric McCooeye, Lemieux indicated he was told by a patrol officer that there was some blood at the scene.

He said he walked half a block on each side of the police tape, and went back in the daylight, but still didn't find a blood-like substance.

McCooeye pointed to a photo that showed a black substance.

Lemieux said he had taken a swab but didn't submit it for analysis because he didn't know whose blood it was and how long it had been there.

The defence asked what happened to the swab.

"I still have it," the officer replied.

About the Author: Linda Richardson

Linda Richardson is a freelance journalist who has been covering Sault Ste. Marie's courts and other local news for more than 45 years.
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