PORT HAWKESBURY, N.S.—A Cape Breton fisherman whose body has never been found was dragged out to sea with a gaff and tied to an anchor after he was shot and his boat was rammed three times, the Crown said as a murder trial got underway Thursday.
Prosecutor Steve Drake delivered his opening arguments at the trial of Joseph James Landry, who has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in the death last year of Phillip Boudreau. Landry, 67, of Little Anse, is one of four people charged in the case.
Drake told a jury that Boudreau, 43, died as the result of a sustained attack by a three-man lobster fishing crew that included Landry.
“This case is about murder for lobster,” Drake told the Nova Scotia Supreme Court.
“It’s not about a loss of control. The crew of the Twin Maggies carried out a sustained attack.”
Drake said the Twin Maggies rammed Boudreau’s boat three times at the mouth of Petit de Grat harbour on June 1, 2013. He said Landry fired four shots from a rifle, one of which hit Boudreau’s leg.
Boudreau’s boat overturned after it was rammed the third time and he was then hooked with a gaff and dragged out to sea, Drake said.
“You will hear through witnesses Landry using his own words, ‘Get him … Kill him,”‘ he told the court.
Police launched an extensive search of the area that only turned up Boudreau’s black and teal baseball-style cap on the shoreline and his green rubber fishing boots in water, about 20 metres off shore, Drake said.
Boudreau was last seen by his brother near the Petit de Grat wharf on June 1, 2013, just before 6 a.m., Drake said. He said Boudreau took his red and white speedboat out on the water and it was found overturned without its motor by a local fisherman about one hour later.
Drake said according to a statement provided to the police by Craig Landry, a deckhand on the Twin Maggies, Boudreau initially clung to a red gas can after his boat overturned.
Joseph James Landry hooked Boudreau with a fishing gaff, but it slipped, so he hooked Boudreau again, Drake said. At one point, Boudreau managed to free himself by slipping out of a sweater, but Joseph James Landry hooked him a third time, Drake added.
He said Craig Landry noticed white foam bubbling from Boudreau’s mouth and his body turned face down in the water. That’s when the three-man crew tied an anchor to Boudreau’s neck and upper arms, dropping him in an area with a water depth of about 22 metres.
Craig Landry told police that at that point, Joseph Landry said, “That’s deep enough,” Drake said.
Craig Landry of Petit de Grat originally faced a second-degree murder charge but that was withdrawn. He now faces a charge of accessory after the fact in the case.
The captain of the Twin Maggies, Dwayne Matthew Samson of D’Escousse, also faces a second-degree murder charge. His wife Carla Samson, who is owner of the lobster boat, faces a charge of accessory after the fact.
Carla Samson is also the daughter of Joseph James Landry, court heard.
The first day of testimony heard from 10 witnesses including lead RCMP investigator Cpl. Fraser Firth.
Firth testified that police seized a number of firearms from Dwayne Matthew Samson’s home on June 7, 2013, including a lever-action Winchester rifle. He said four bullet holes were found in Boudreau’s boat and a spent round was recovered by investigators.
“That bullet that was recovered from Phillip Boudreau’s boat was fired from that particular firearm,” said Firth.
Under cross-examination by defence lawyer Luke Craggs, Firth said Craig Landry was arrested June 6, 2013, and told police nothing about the case. He said that changed 20 days later, when a videotaped interview was arranged at the RCMP detachment in Bible Hill, N.S.
Firth told Craggs that as a result of that interview, Craig Landry took part in a videotaped re-enactment on the waters of Petit de Grat harbour on June 27.
The case resumes Friday in Port Hawkesbury.