On stand, Pi­card in­sists he isn’t the killer

Ottawa Citizen - - NEWS - BLAIR CRAW­FORD bcraw­ford@post­ Twit­

Adam Pi­card said he stood shak­ing and ter­ri­fied as two mys­te­ri­ous olive-skinned men with thick for­eign ac­cents shot and killed Fouad Nayel with Pi­card’s shot­gun in an iso­lated ren­dezvous in June 2012.

Tes­ti­fy­ing in his own de­fence for the sec­ond day, Pi­card de­scribed a Hol­ly­wood thriller-style meet-up on a re­mote dirt road near Cal­abo­gie, where Nayel told Pi­card he in­tended to buy a kilo­gram of co­caine from the mys­tery men.

It was an un­planned side trip for Pi­card, who said Nayel had orig­i­nally asked for a lift to Petawawa, where he was to meet a dope dealer.

Yet here they were, Nayel with $27,000 in cash and 17 pounds of weed he planned to trade the mys­tery men for the co­caine.

But the meet-up didn’t go as planned. Pi­card tes­ti­fied he watched from a few feet away while Nayel and one of the men ar­gued. The mys­tery men then grabbed Pi­card’s shot­gun, which was ly­ing on the seat of his Jeep, wres­tled with Nayel and threw him to the ground.

“Fouad said, ‘Don’t worry I’ll get your money,’” Pi­card told the court. “But the guy said, ‘It’s too late for that.’ ”

The man then shot Nayel once in the front, then again in the back as Nayel tried to crawl away.

“I was cow­er­ing in front of my Jeep,” Pi­card tes­ti­fied. “I was frozen. I thought of run­ning. I didn’t know what to do.”

Pi­card’s ac­count is at odds with what the Crown al­leges re­ally hap­pened: that Pi­card had ar­ranged to buy the mar­i­juana from Nayel, lured him to an iso­lated spot, killed him and stole the drugs.

In Fri­day’s tes­ti­mony, de­liv­ered un­der ques­tion­ing from de­fence lawyer Rosellen Sul­li­van, Pi­card de­scribed how the mys­tery men threat­ened him af­ter Nayel’s death.

“He came back to me with a shovel. He threw it at my feet and said, ‘Start walk­ing.’

“We walked into the bush and then he said, ‘Start dig­ging.’

Pi­card said he started to dig — “It seemed like for­ever” — when one of the men walked back to the Jeep, re­trieved Pi­card’s driver’s li­cence and took a photo of it with his cell­phone.

“He said, ‘You’ve just in­her­ited Fouad’s debt,’ ” Pi­card tes­ti­fied.

The men also warned Pi­card not to talk, “or you and your whole fam­ily are dead.”

Pi­card was al­lowed to get in his Jeep and drive away, he tes­ti­fied. He said he heard a loud bang in the back as he was leav­ing and later re­al­ized the men had tossed the shot­gun into the Jeep’s trailer.

Af­ter that, Pi­card tes­ti­fied that he lived in fear, wor­ried that the men would come and harm his girl­friend or that he would be ar­rested and charged with drug traf­fick­ing. He’d been called by Nayel’s fam­ily in the days af­ter Nayel’s dis­ap­pear­ance and soon af­ter that by po­lice.

By the end of June, the stress and fear had him con­tem­plat­ing sui­cide.

“I was ready to take my own life,” Pi­card said. “I knew I was go­ing to be charged with drug traf­fick­ing. I knew Heather (his girl­friend) was go­ing to leave me.”

He said he felt shame as he stared down the bar­rel of his gun.

“I had been beg­ging for my life and here, two weeks later, I was ready to take my life.”

It was an ac­count that as­sis­tant Crown at­tor­ney Dal­las Mack wasn’t buy­ing. If Pi­card was so fear­ful of the mys­tery men who threat­ened to kill him, Mack ar­gued in cross-ex­am­i­na­tion Fri­day af­ter­noon, why didn’t he move or change his phone num­ber? Mack noted that Pi­card bought and op­er­ated a chip truck af­ter Nayel’s killing and be­gan a drive­way-seal­ing

They left you with all this ev­i­dence against them. They kill a guy, then they let the guy who watched it all go. That’s crazy!

busi­ness, ad­ver­tis­ing on Ki­jiji.

“You’re not hid­ing. You’re not pro­tect­ing your­self. You’re out there in the pub­lic,” Mack said in an of­ten testy ex­change with Pi­card.

It made no sense that the mys­tery men would put their fin­ger­prints on Pi­card’s li­cence, then give it back to him, Mack said. It made no sense that they tossed the mur­der weapon back into Pi­card’s Jeep, he added.

“They left you with all this ev­i­dence against them. They kill a guy, then they let the guy who watched it all go. That’s crazy!” Mack said. “Yes it is,” Pi­card agreed. “They don’t ex­ist!” Mack snapped back.

The trial in On­tario Su­pe­rior Court of Jus­tice re­sumes Mon­day be­fore Jus­tice Kevin Phillips and a 12-per­son jury.


Adam Pi­card, seen in Novem­ber 2016, tes­ti­fied Fri­day that he was at the scene in 2012 and wit­nessed two other men kill Fouad Nayel in an en­counter over drugs.


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