Defence argues reasonable doubt exists in NS manslaughter trial

Harry Sullivan
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TRURO, N.S. - The defence lawyer for a Nova Scotia man accused of deliberately slamming a little girl against a bedroom wall argued Monday there was "reasonable doubt" of the claims against his client.
Don Murray said that Terry Dean Allen was an "enthusiastic caregiver" who doted on Samantha Marie Mercer and did nothing to deliberately contribute to the death of his former girlfriend's daughter.
"So there was no assault by Mr. Allen on Samantha Mercer at any time," Murray said during the summation of the defence's case in the manslaughter trial against Allen in Truro.
"Apart from a fall, there was no blow from Mr. Allen that could have contributed to her death."
Samantha Marie Mercer was just over three years old when she died from fatal brain injuries received in her home in Truro on March 1, 2005.
Throughout a two-week trial, the Crown has attempted to prove that Allen deliberately inflicted injuries on her by slamming her headfirst into her bedroom wall.
Allen has contended that her injuries occurred when she fell down the stairs while in his care as he watched television.
In summing up the defence position, Murray said there were no witnesses to the incident and that Judge Alan Tufts should not rely on inferred events to determine the outcome of the trial.
On that basis, Murray said, the judge must find that there is "reasonable doubt" and the Crown has not proven its case beyond that point and Allen therefore should be acquitted.
Crown Attorney Diane McGrath argued that Samantha died as the result of a "violent assault" that began in the bathroom with the accused striking her on the back with a coffee mug and then escalated with him slamming her headfirst into the wall after they went upstairs.

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, TRURO

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