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Accused in Comox Valley road rage case denied application to testify by video

Lucus Morine faces charges for three 2021 incidents in Courtenay
A suspect in three road rage incidents made an application to testify by video in Courtenay Provincial Court. Record file pic

A man accused in connection with three road rage incidents last fall in Courtenay will have to appear in person to testify.

Lucus Morine, who has been in custody since being arrested last October, applied to testify at his trial on Friday by video rather than in person.

His lawyer, Eric Chesterley, appeared on his behalf in provincial court on Wednesday to make the application, saying Morine is required to go through 14-day isolation once returned to his remand facility because of COVID regulations.

RELATED STORY: Accused in Courtenay road rage axe cases must wait to testify

Crown counsel Tim Morgan told Judge Catherine Crockett that Morine’s appearing by video would create logistical issues if the Crown has to present photos, video or transcripts as evidence to the accused during cross-examination and Morine is not there in person. Morgan added that as he does not yet know what Morine will say, he cannot say whether he will be calling forth of the evidence.

“The default position is that he be in court,” Morgan said. “This is Mr. Morine testifying, not just any witness.”

The judge agreed the request presents too many challenges at this point in the trial, despite the reasons for making it, and she ordered Morine to appear in person to testify.

“I’m certainly sympathetic to the application,” she said.

Morine faced three charges for weapons involving an axe, three for mischief and two assault-related counts, including uttering threats. He entered guilty pleas for the mischief charges.

Morine’s trial will resume on Friday, April 1. He had one day for a judge-alone trial scheduled March 16 and had wanted to testify, but the trial broke off over the admissibility of a transcript.

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