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Accused found guilty of 2nd degree murder in death of Winnipeg bus driver
The jury reached a verdict Thursday afternoon.
Brian Thomas Kyle was found guilty of second degree murder.
Brian Thomas found guilty of second degree murder in the death of Irvine Fraser #ctvwpg— Josh Crabb (@JoshRCrabb) January 31, 2019
Representatives from the Amalgamated Transit Union as well as Irvine Fraser’s family members have assembled in the courtroom to hear the jury’s decision. About 20 people here in total. #ctvwpg— Josh Crabb (@JoshRCrabb) January 31, 2019
President of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1505 Aleem Chaudhary released a statement following the verdict.
"Our thoughts are first with the members of Irvine Jubal Fraser's family. They have gone through so much in the past few years and we know how difficult this trial has been for them and we hope that this brings closure to them. Certainly, we know how difficult these two years have been for the entire transit family," wrote Chaudhary.
He continued, "First of all, we want to be clear, that every worker has a right to safe and respectful workplace. No one deserves to be assaulted or killed on the job.
"As a union, we will never stop fighting and speaking out for the rights of our members to work in a safe workplace. We will continue to push for a workplace where our operators and passengers feel safe. We welcome the collaboration of the public, all levels of the public and our members in working together to reach that goal."
EARLIER: A 12-member jury has started deliberating in the trial of Brian Kyle Thomas.
Thomas, 24, has pleaded not guilty to second degree murder in the fatal stabbing nearly two years ago of Winnipeg Transit operator Irvine Jubal Fraser, 58.
The jury of eight women and four men will decide if Thomas is guilty of the charge, not guilty, or not guilty of second degree murder and guilty of manslaughter.
Fraser died of multiple stab wounds.
Four civilian eyewitnesses, police officers and a pathologist testified at the trial.
Jurors were also shown security video from inside Fraser’s bus as well as video from a second bus parked behind Fraser’s.
The Crown has argued Thomas was seeking revenge on Fraser for kicking Thomas off a city bus in the early morning hours of Feb. 14, 2017 when Fraser’s bus made its last stop on the University of Manitoba campus.
Thomas’s lawyer Evan Roitenberg argued Thomas was acting in self-defence.
For more than three hours on Thursday, Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench Chief Justice Glenn Joyal delivered legal instructions to jurors before they returned to the jury room.
Joyal told the jury it’s an admitted fact Thomas caused Fraser’s death.
Jurors were then told they will have to examine other essential elements of the charge of second degree murder, including: whether Thomas caused Fraser’s death unlawfully, had the state of mind to commit murder and whether the Crown has proven beyond a reasonable doubt Thomas was not provoked.
“The Crown says the unlawful act was the stabbing of Mr. Fraser, which is to say the assault on him with a weapon,” Joyal told jurors.
On the issue of self-defence, Joyal told jurors to use the evidence introduced at trial to examine three questions in the following order:
- Did Brian Thomas believe on reasonable grounds that force was being used or threatened against him?
- Did Brian Thomas stab Irvine Fraser for the purpose of protecting himself from the use or threat of force?
- Was Brian Thomas’s action reasonable in the circumstances?
“If you are satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that Brian Thomas’s stabbing of Irvine Fraser was not, or exceeded what was reasonable in the circumstances Brian Thomas was not acting in lawful self-defence,” Joyal told jurors. “Your consideration of self-defence would be over.”
Joyal told jurors if they determine Thomas was acting in self-defence and didn’t unlawfully cause the death of Fraser, they must find him not guilty of second degree murder.
If they do think Thomas unlawfully caused Fraser’s death, the jury was then instructed to determine if Thomas had the state of mind to commit murder. Joyal told the jury if their answer is no, then he’s not guilty of second degree murder and guilty of manslaughter. If the answer is yes, Joyal instructed jurors to move on to the defence of provocation.
He told jurors if they determine the Crown has proven beyond a reasonable doubt Thomas was not provoked, then they must find him guilty of second degree murder.
“Provocation is a defence only if Brian Thomas’s killing of Irvine Fraser was a spontaneous decision to Irvine Fraser’s conduct,” Joyal told jurors.
If the jury determines what happened to Fraser was a result of Thomas being provoked, then the jury was instructed Thomas is guilty of manslaughter.
Joyal reminded jurors Thomas is presumed innocent unless or until Crown counsel has proven his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The trial started on Monday, Jan. 21.