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Canada

BRAUN: Dafonte Miller completes testimony

There was a moment of quiet drama in an Oshawa courtroom Friday when a recording of a 911 call was played aloud.

It’s a call made the night Dafonte Miller, 22, was allegedly beaten with fists and a metal pipe by off-duty Toronto police officer Michael Theriault and his brother, Christian Theriault.

The incident left Miller badly hurt and blinded in one eye.

Both men stand charged of aggravated assault and obstructing justice. Both have pleaded not guilty.

As the 911 call was played in court, Miller said softly, “I kind of hate hearing that.”

Miller’s testimony wrapped up Friday afternoon after three straight days of cross-examination by defence lawyer Michael Lacy.

Miller was questioned about every aspect of the events of December 28, 2016 — the day he and the Theriault brothers crossed paths.

The defendants claim they acted in self-defence after catching Miller and two friends (Bradley Good and Antonio Jack) stealing from their father’s truck.

They chased Miller; they have said they feared for their lives after Miller resisted arrest and allegedly began striking them with a metal pipe.

The province’s Special Investigations Unit determined it was Miller who was the victim in the incident.

At least three times on Friday morning, Miller had to leave the courtroom as the crown attorney, Linda Shin, questioned parts of Michael Lacy’s cross.

Once again, Lacy challenged Miller’s recollection of past events — attempting at every turn to show discrepancies between past and current statements.

As well, Miller was quizzed about why he told SIU investigators the rumours he’d heard about Bradley Good being a friend of one of the Theriault brothers.

Good had testified the three men had indeed been “car hopping” the night of the incident, something both Miller and Jack deny.

Maybe, said Lacy, Miller was hoping to “neutralize” that testimony?

As the morning wore on, Lacy attempted to cast doubt on Miller’s version of the nights’ events.

Lacy asked Miller, “You’re not the one who used the pipe as a weapon? You didn’t struggle with the two guys over the pipe?”

And, “Nothing happened that would have warranted them trying to apprehend you?

“On your evidence, there was no reason to chase you at all?”

There was a discussion as to whether or not Miller had seen either brother drinking or smoking.

Much was made of pictures of Miller’s injuries, and Lacy said at one point, “You know there’s no evidence you suffered a back injury?”

He likewise brought up testimony about other alleged injuries to Miller’s face, saying, “Your medical records show your right eye was unremarkable.”

(Miller lost his left eye in the fight and explained why doctors had told him he might also go blind in his right eye as a result.)

Lacy finished up by showing video of an incident from 2018 when Miller was accused of making a threatening gesture at a store owner.

Miller denied making any such gesture; video from the storefront was shown in court and it revealed Miller talking to a friend and making what looked like a gun gesture  — something Miller said related to another conversation altogether.

Finally, Alan Gold, lawyer for Christian Theriault, was ready to cross examine Miller.

He had only one area of questioning: Was Miller able to kick or punch in his own defence? Did he hit the brothers with any pole? Miller never did anything to either gentleman engaged in the struggle?

The trial resumes Tuesday.

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