Key witness in Ermine trial says “she was defending herself”

Prince Albert's Court of Queen's Bench. -- Herald file photo.

Robyn Ermine’s lawyer scored a major point in day three of her murder trial, when he got the Crown’s key eyewitness to admit his client was “defending herself.”

Ermine is facing second-degree murder charges for the death of her boyfriend, Evan Bear, more than two years ago on Muskoday First Nation. Shelinda Vallier testified on Tuesday that she saw Ermine, her stepsister, take a swipe at Bear with an unknown object. She then saw blood come squirting out of his neck.

But Adam Masiowski, Ermine’s legal aid lawyer, challenged her memory of those events in his cross examination on Wednesday.

“I am going to suggest to you that there are a lot of things about this night that you don’t remember,” he said. “You don’t remember if any threats were made.”

Vallier’s memory did serve Masiowski’s purposes on other issues, however. He prompted her to admit that Ermine was asking her boyfriend to leave, that they had been arguing all night and that, in his words, “Robyn never said one word about wanting to hurt Evan.”

Masiowski then turned to the fight Vallier witnessed that morning. He suggested that Ermine was “cornered” when she allegedly slashed at Bear. Vallier wouldn’t concede that point, so the lawyer pressed her on another.

“You agree that Evan is winning the fight,” Masiowski said.

“I don’t know who was winning the fight, they were both hitting each other,” Vallier replied.

“You are und oath right now and I’m saying to you that he was winning the fight. What do you say to that?”

“He was bigger than her, so yeah,” the witness said.

“Do you think that Robyn was defending herself?”

“Yeah, she was defending herself.”

For more on this story, see the May 10 print or e-edition of the Daily Herald.