The lawyer for a man who admits he strangled his wife and buried her body in their Calgary home wants an acquittal for his client who he argues was acting in self-defence.
Balfour Der made his closing arguments Thursday morning at the second-degree murder trial of Allan Shyback.
Shyback is also charged with causing an indignity to the body of Lisa Mitchell, who was 31 when she was last seen alive in October 2012.
An undercover "Mr. Big" sting operation was launched in 2013 and ended with Shyback's confession and arrest in Winnipeg a year later.
Mummified body found in basement
During his testimony this week, Shyback told the judge hearing the case alone that he had been the victim of nearly a decade of domestic abuse and that Mitchell had attacked him with a knife the day she died.
"I expect self-defence to be the first defence that will be raised and that can lead to a complete acquittal," Der told court Tuesday.
"Failing self-defence we would seek a finding of not guilty of murder, but guilty of manslaughter based on either one of two ways: provocation or through lack of intent."
Mitchell's mummified body was found in a Rubbermaid container that had been entombed in cement in the basement of the house she and Shyback shared.
Der said those actions are difficult to defend.
"I'll tell you that there is no defence raised to the indignity charge. I would expect there would be a finding of guilt."
'It doesn't make me a murderer'
The prosecution, in a lengthy cross-examination, attempted to dispute Shyback's testimony that he had been a victim of domestic abuse.
Jayme Williams pointed to the search history on Shyback's computer.
"What you're searching is: murder, Canadian law, murder manslaughter, murder Wikipedia," Williams said to Shyback. "You were specifically researching mitigating factors for murder."
"I know that several times after the event I would start to look stuff up. I was always concerned that it felt like eventually it was all going to come out," replied Shyback.
"You tried to learn how the system worked?" asked Williams.
"I tried to learn about what I had to expect," Shyback said.
Shyback, 40, told court he was trying to protect himself when Mitchell came at him with a knife. "We struggled. We fought. It was an accident," he said.
"It makes me responsible, but it doesn't make me a murderer."
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