Winnipeg lawyer shocked to learn a letter bomb was addressed to him
Published Friday, July 24, 2015 2:58PM CST Last Updated Friday, July 24, 2015 5:33PM CST
Guido Amsel appeared in person in a Winnipeg courtroom Thursday morning, dressed in an orange jumpsuit.
He only spoke when a judge asked him his name, replying yes, and nodding his head.
Amsel, 49, is the man accused of sending three letter bombs to three different Winnipeg businesses.
He faces three counts of attempted murder, and one count of aggravated assault, along with a number of other explosive and firearm related charges.
An explosive device sent to a River Avenue law firm on July 3, seriously injured 38-year-old Maria Mitousis, who lost her right hand in the explosion. Maria Mitousis had been the lawyer of Amsel’s ex-wife in a civil suit involving financial matters.
One day later, a Winnipeg bomb squad detonated another explosive device sent to a Washington Avenue car shop. That package was addressed to Amsel’s ex-wife, Iris Amsel.
The following day, police were sent to a Stradbrook Avenue law office where a third explosive device was located, and blown up by a bomb squad.
Sarah McEachern, a lawyer who had once represented Amsel worked at that office until April of this year, but the letter bomb was addressed to Winnipeg lawyer, George Orle.
"Police told me that the package that was exploded at 280 Stradbrook Avenue was addressed to me," said George Orle, now a senior lawyer at Wood Orle Litigation Lawyers.
Orle said he’s shocked to know his name was on that letter, “I had every reason to believe that if it was Mr. Amsel that was involved, that he would send it to Sarah.”
Orle said the legal community is still trying to come to terms with what happened, “we get thousands of packages each week, thousands of thick envelopes filled with manuscripts, I don’t know how, short of having your own scanner, you’re going to be able to protect yourself on something like that.” He added, “whoever sent these bombs, didn’t just target the lawyers, there’s a whole host of people that I guess the bomber thought, they’re collateral damage and he didn’t care about.”
High-profile lawyer, Martin Glazer said he received a call to represent Amsel on July 17, and was retained on Monday of this week.
He said his client maintains his innocence, and plans to plead not guilty to all charges.
“I think the investigation is incomplete, I think the police were under pressure to arrest someone, and they arrested my client and jumped the gun,” said Glazer outside the Law Courts on Thursday.
Glazer claims his client was arrested on circumstantial evidence, “There’s no bomb making equipment found, there’s no DNA, there’s no finger prints. There’s nothing that was found so far, to my knowledge that would implicate him in what he’s charged with,” said Glazer.
“My client said he doesn’t know how to make a bomb, he said he’s never done anything like that,” Glazer said he hopes police will still continue to investigate this matter “I think they should have held off, they arrested my client and from my review of the police report, in my opinion they didn’t have reasonable grounds to arrest him.”
Guido Amsel remains in custody. He was moved to an isolated cell in Headingly on Wednesday. Glazer said Amsel is locked up 23.5 hours a day, with no phone calls or contact to the outside world.
“That concerns us,” said Glazer. “Here’s a man who’s never been in custody before and he’s being treated quite harshly, and we’re hoping that the authorities will change that as soon as possible.”
Glazer said his client had no motives in terms of the bomb allegations, “In terms of a motive, he had no motive, and in terms of his own lawyer, why would he bomb his own lawyer, and if he did it, why would he send it to the wrong address.”
Glazer said he is still waiting for more information from police, which include forensic testing results.
Amsel’s case will be back in court Tuesday, where lawyers will set a date for a bail application.