Yellowknife Inn

NNSL photo/graphic


 Front Page
 News Desk
 News Briefs
 News Summaries
 Arctic arts
 Readers comment
 Find a job
 Market reports
 Handy Links
 Best of Bush
 Visitors guides
 Feature Issues
 Today's weather
 Leave a message



. NNSL Logo
Home page text size buttonsbigger textsmall textText size Email this articleE-mail this page

Bulatci jury begins deliberations today

Elizabeth McMillan
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, November 18, 2009

SOMBA K'E/YELLOWKNIFE - Twelve jury members will begin deliberations today to decide whether they believe Emrah Bulatci meant to kill RCMP Const. Christopher Worden when his semi-automatic handgun was fired four times on Oct. 6, 2007 in Hay River.

NNSL photo/graphic

Emrah Bulatci carried the Qur'an into the courthouse on Tuesday morning. Closing arguments were held on Tuesday, the 17th day of proceedings in his first degree murder trial. - Cameron Ginn/NNSL photo

The jury has two options – to find Bulatci guilty of first-degree murder or manslaughter.

Defence lawyer Laura Stevens argued her client never intended to kill Worden. She painted an image of a determined, courageous young RCMP officer who chose to run after a drug dealer he didn't know was armed, despite being on his own.

"A lot of other officers would have stopped, but not Const. Worden," she said.

Stevens argued the gun went off while Worden and Bulatci struggled on the ground after Bulatci fired the first two shots.

"(Worden) would have been fighting for everything he was worth. Everything in that officer's mind and body would have been focused on that gun," she said. "I would respectfully suggest it's unlikely he let go of that (right) hand."

She said it was unlikely Bulatci could reach up and blindly shoot while his head was pinned down and Worden was on top of him.

"The force of fighting was consistent with the gun going off," she said.

Stevens said Bulatci's account of what happened coincided with the evidence given by experts about the order of the shots and raised reasonable doubt about what happened.

"Could what he told us be true?" she asked. "Because if it could be true and if you convict him of first degree murder, it's not just an injustice to him, it's an injustice to everybody."

Crown prosecutor John Cliffe said Bulatci's testimony wasn't believable and asked the jury to consider his credibility, his past criminal record and the inconsistencies in his accounts of what happened. He said Bulatci had no reason to lie to the people he trusted, including his family and fellow drug dealers, who assisted him in the days leading up to his arrest. Several witnesses testified Bulatci admitted to killing Worden.

"If you pull the trigger of a handgun four times, common sense dictates you intended to shoot the handgun," he said.

Cliffe argued Bulatci didn't change his intention to shoot Worden in the seconds between aiming at the officer's legs and when the police officer received the fatal shot to his neck.

He said that even if it was possible the trigger could have been pulled once unintentionally, that didn't account for the second shot.

"It took thought, force and energy of the accused," Cliffe said. "The only reasonable conclusion is the fatal shot was intentional."

As the two sides addressed the court, Bulatci rarely turned his head to look at the jurors.

The 12-person jury sat through almost three hours of arguments, at times attentive and at other moments looking weary. This was their 17th day of duty.

The seven men and five women are all caucasian and vary in age from approximately 30 to 55. Judge John Vertes will give them directions this morning. They will then have an indefinite period of time to make their decision.

We welcome your opinions on this story. Click to e-mail a letter to the editor.