Character flaws can't be used to convict couple accused of killing boy: judge

By: The Canadian Press

 | Apr 03, 2014 - 3:18 PM |
BRAMPTON, Ont. - Jurors are hearing they can't use a couple's "bad character traits" to convict them of murder in the death of the man's 10-year-old son.

An Ontario Superior Court judge is giving his final instructions to the jury weighing the case of Garfield Boothe and his wife Nichelle Boothe-Rowe.

Both are charged with second-degree murder in the death of Shakeil Boothe, whose body was found in the family's Brampton, Ont., home on May 27, 2011.

Court has heard testimony painting Boothe as a violent, controlling man who regularly consumed marijuana, beat his son with a belt for discipline and once pleaded guilty in a domestic assault case.

Justice Fletcher Dawson told jurors this morning not to let character flaws or previous offences colour their analysis of the evidence.

But he said it would be different if they made a finding that there was a "pattern of similar conduct toward the same victim" — for example, if someone had shown a propensity to discipline Shakeil in the family home.

In that case, the jury could choose to infer that the behaviour continued, Dawson said.

He also reminded the jury that while both accused were charged and tried together, each should be considered separately when it comes to the verdict.

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