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Diaper porn and pimples: What the jury did and didn’t hear at an epic murder trial

Diaper porn and pimples: What the jury did and didn’t hear at an epic murder trial
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More than seven years after Allan Lanteigne was beaten to death in the foyer of his Ossington Ave. home, a jury is now finally deliberating the fate of the two men charged with his murder.

Lanteigne’s husband, Demitry Papasotiriou-Lanteigne, 38, and his lover, Michael Ivezic, 57, have been on trial for first-degree murder — a plot the Crown said was driven by their plan to cash in on Lanteigne’s $2-million life insurance policy.

Allan Lanteigne, shown in an undated photo, was found beaten to death in the foyer of his Ossington Ave. home on March 3, 2011.  (Toronto Police)

For the past six months, courtroom 4-9 at the Superior Court of Justice in Toronto has featured an eclectic mix of evidence and characters: from intimate emails and diaper porn to a soldier judge and a combative defendant who acted as his own lawyer. There was also plenty the jury wasn’t told.

The story began on March 3, 2011 when the 49-year-old University of Toronto accounting clerk was found dead in the matrimonial home. There were no signs of forced entry.

More than a year and a half later, Toronto police arrested Papasotiriou-Lanteigne. Ivezic was arrested in Athens, Greece two months after that, and extradited in early June 2013.

Both men denied any involvement.

The Crown’s case against Ivezic, the alleged assailant, was undeniably stronger: his DNA was found in Lanteigne’s fingernail clippings, and he was in the GTA at the time of the killing, while Papasotiriou-Lanteigne was living in Greece.

But the prosecution got off to a bumpy start.

Allan Lanteigne, centre left, and Demitry Papasotiriou-Lanteigne, centre right, shown at their wedding reception with unidentified guests.  (Court exhibit)

Although Ivezic was committed to stand trial for murder following a preliminary hearing in 2014, Ontario Court Justice Shaun Nakatsuru discharged Papasotiriou-Lanteigne on the grounds that there wasn’t enough evidence against him.

The Ministry of the Attorney General then took the rare step of issuing a preferred indictment, which reinstated the murder charge, and Papasotiriou-Lanteigne was rearrested.

Papasotiriou-Lanteigne promptly challenged that action, alleging bias on the part of the man who signed the indictment, Deputy Attorney General Patrick Monahan — who was a professor at Osgoode Hall law school when Papasotiriou-Lanteigne was a student there.

Superior Court Justice Ian Nordheimer heard days of evidence before ultimately refusing to quash the indictment. Nevertheless, a trial date of September 2016 was vacated because the defendants were without lawyers.

The pair spent the next year launching a series of legal challenges. Ivezic produced a steady stream of disclosure demands, all requiring courtroom litigation with an army of lawyers. In one of many pretrial rulings, Nordheimer noted there had been more than 50 court appearances, “including 30 where disclosure played a role.”

Last September, Nordheimer released what would be his last decision in the case. The defendants had asked that the prosecutors be removed, alleging they had tampered with records and evidence, lied to the defence and the court and colluded with police. “The evidence in support of those allegations is difficult to find,” Nordheimer wrote.

Within days, he was appointed to the Ontario Court of Appeal.

Justice Robert Goldstein, a fitness buff and Canadian army reservist who once took a break from his job as a federal Crown attorney to serve in Afghanistan, took over as the trial judge when Justice Ian Nordheimer was appointed to the Ontario Court of Appeal.  (YouTube)

Replacing him would be Superior Court Justice Robert Goldstein, a fitness buff and Canadian army reservist who once took a break from his job as a federal Crown attorney to serve in Afghanistan. Operating in the vicinity of the Taliban was a prelude of the courtroom battles ahead for Goldstein, who was conducting his first murder trial since his 2012 judicial appointment.

For Crown attorney Hank Goody, a veteran of scores of murder cases, this prosecution was his final major trial.

When Goody’s co-counsel, Anna Tenhouse, finally delivered the Crown’s opening address to the jury on Nov. 27, 2017 — now more than five years after Lanteigne’s death — the jurors were told the trial would last between three and four months.

Papasotiriou-Lanteigne, who was free on bail throughout the trial, became a familiar sight at the University Ave. courthouse, clutching his smartphone with its photo collection of the lifelike portraits of his grandmother and mother that he painted at night. Ivezic was held in custody, a fact the jury was not told.

It was after Christmas that the trial really started to bog down.

For reasons unexplained, Ivezic fired defence lawyer Marcy Segal, who is known as an aggressive courtroom litigator, and chose to represent himself.

Then, in mid-February, without the jury present, Ivezic asked the judge for permission to cross-examine a police witness about Lanteigne’s “lifestyle.”

“I want the truth to shine,” Ivezic told Goldstein.

The “truth,” according to Ivezic, was that “Allan was no saint. He was very promiscuous,” and engaged in “risky behaviour” with “many men who could have had the opportunity kill Allan.”

Ivezic wanted the jury to see which websites Lanteigne had visited, especially those catering to adult diaper-wearing enthusiasts, raising the spectre that someone else levelled the lethal blows.

Asked by the judge for his view, Goody told Goldstein that evidence would “divert the jury from fact finding.” He described the dating sites as “benign,” and said there “is nothing to suggest (Lanteigne) had any interest in violence.” In fact, Lanteigne seemed more interested in intimacy and “cuddling,” Goody said.

After considering the arguments, Goldstein told Ivezic such evidence would be of limited value, and ordered him to refrain from “gratuitous references to fetishes and (sexual) preferences.”

When the jury returned, Ivezic ignored the judge’s warning and asked the officer if he found “any photos that could be described as unconventional.”

“Where are you going with this?” Goldstein asked Ivezic after ordering the jury out of the courtroom. It was a phrase he would use over and over during the trial.

“I want the jury to know there were some unusual photos. I’m not saying what they were,” Ivezic replied.

“I’m not going to allow you to go there,” snapped Goldstein. “Bring the jury in.”

Almost immediately, Ivezic went there again, further exasperating the judge.

Goldstein appeared to bend over backwards to accommodate Ivezic, steering him clear of “minefields” that could hurt both him and his co-accused. The defendant didn’t always see it that way. “You’re treating me like a kid,” Ivezic complained at one point.

“I do have the right to defend myself,” he said another time. “I’m facing 25 years and I’m not going to be shortchanged by anybody.”

For the most part, Papasotiriou-Lanteigne’s lawyer, Gabriel Gross-Stein, who was still in law school when the murder took place, stayed in his seat.

And there were more hiccups.

One day in early March, Ivezic did not show up in court, prompting the judge to threaten an “extraction” order to get him back in the courthouse. “You don’t get a choice about when you get to come,” Goldstein warned.
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