Men accused in truck-jacking walk after witness fails to show

·2 min read

The court found two Victoria County men not guilty of charges surrounding an alleged truck-jacking incident near Perth-Andover after a key witness failed to show up for the trial at Woodstock provincial court on Wednesday, April 27.

MacKenzie O’Keefe, 24, of Tobique Narrows and Marc Morin, 23, faced charges of armed robbery, theft of a motor vehicle, assault, possession of a firearm without a licence, and being the occupant of a vehicle knowing it carried a firearm.

Judge Lucie Mathurin refused to grant a further adjournment after Crown prosecutor Brownwyn Mooney explained the Crown’s key witness was not available.

The Crown previously requested an adjournment on March 21 when witness Teisha Scott ignored a summons compelling her to appear as a witness. Mooney told the judge the court issued a warrant, but RCMP could not locate her.

“I can’t proceed without her,” Mooney told the judge.

Mathurin told the Crown she expressed her reluctance to grant another adjournment.

“I’m not going to keep doing this,” she said, noting the accused have been in custody since their arrest last fall.

Morin was first released from custody with strict conditions but then failed to return to court for a plea, and a warrant was issued.

He was charged with an indictable breach of probation.

After a short recess, Mathurin returned to court to issue her final decision. She explained both men were free to leave, but Morin had first to pay an outstanding $200 fine, which he did.

She acknowledged the serious charges but said all accused deserve fair and due process.

Following her decision, Mathurin told other witnesses sitting in court that they could leave.

The judge addressed the men sitting in the courtroom.

“All I can say to these boys is ‘stay out of trouble,” she said.

Mooney said the warrant for Scott remains in place. She said failure to appear as a witness can result in contempt charges, resulting in a fine or even a jail term.

The RCMP laid charges against O’Keefe and Morin after a man driving a pick-up truck on Access Road was confronted by two individuals in a second vehicle on Oct. 27, 2021, near Perth-Andover.

The two individuals exited their car, discharged a firearm (a shotgun) at the pick-up, and then assaulted the driver before stealing the vehicle. The driver of the truck suffered minor injuries.

— With files from Judy Cole-Underhill, River Valley Sun

Jim Dumville, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, River Valley Sun

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