Prosecutors allege a Calgary man confessed to killing a three-year-old child because he believed a corrupt doctor would help him cover up damning evidence, court heard as the accused's second-degree murder trial started Monday in Calgary.
Justin Bennett is charged with second-degree murder in the Oct. 5, 2017, death of Ivy Wick, who was the daughter of his then-girlfriend Helen Wordsworth.
On Monday, prosecutors Tom Spark and Sue Kendall outlined the Crown's case in an opening statement for Court of Queen's Bench Justice Blair Nixon.
Bennett was charged a year after Ivy was killed. In that time, police ran an undercover operation involving 97 "scenarios" where officers befriended the suspect, working to earn his trust with the end goal of eventually eliciting a confession.
Ivy attacked because she was crying: Crown
On Sept. 27, 2017, while Ivy's mother was taking a shower, the child had a tantrum, screaming and crying, according to Spark.
Bennett, who was playing a video game at the time, attacked Ivy, causing her to scream, the Crown alleges.
When Wordsworth came out of the bathroom, Bennett was holding Ivy, who was unconscious.
The three-year-old never woke up.
Ivy was taken to hospital after Bennett called 911. She was taken off life support eight days later.
Bennett told people that Ivy had tripped and fallen "but that story did not match Ivy's injuries," said Spark.
Confession matched medical evidence: Crown
The undercover operation targeted both Bennett and Wordsworth, according to one of the officers involved in the investigation.
Bennett eventually came to believe that a fake semi-criminal organization created by undercover police to befriend him could help him "escape liability for the killing of Ivy,"
The officers convinced Bennett that they had access to a corrupt medical examiner who could prepare a false report that would clear him of causing the girl's injuries, according to the Crown.
But first, Bennett had to tell the truth to his new friends.
According to Spark, Bennett told undercover officers "in great detail how he killed Ivy."
"His description finally explained the medical evidence," said Spark.
The trial, which is before judge alone, is set for three weeks. All of the evidence related to the undercover operation is being heard in a voir dire. That means the judge has yet to determine whether it's admissible.
Defence lawyer Allan Fay is representing Bennett in the trial.