WINNIPEG —; It was a day of drama at the Winnipeg law courts as the trial for 42-year-old Andrea Giesbrecht resumed after a nearly two month hiatus.
The son of Giesbrecht, the woman accused of concealing the remains of six infants in a U-Haul storage locker, testified in court Monday afternoon.
His name cannot be released due to a publication ban.
He said he doesn’t recall ever seeing his mom pregnant or any dramatic changes in her weight over the years. However, he spoke of his parents rocky relationship and said they often argued and sometimes split up.
It was the first time one of her family members has taken the stand since the trial first began back in April.
However, it was only after a heated argument with Crown attorney’s that court heard his testimony.
READ MORE: Andrea Giesbrecht, woman accused of hiding infant remains, expected back in court
During a break before the afternoon proceedings got underway, Giesbrecht’s husband, Jeremy, began yelling at prosecutors who asked to speak with the son before he took the stand.
“We have a right not to answer your questions,” he yelled.
The fighting continued for nearly 10 minutes before he eventually agreed to let his son speak in private with both prosecutors and Greg Brodksy, Giesbrecht’s defence attorney.
Giesbrecht’s son spoke in short answers while being questioned on the stand.
He was asked about visitors to the family’s home before he had moved away in 2014.
Brodsky also questioned the son about who would have used the bathroom in the master bedroom en suite.
When trial first got underway in April, the court heard from a forensic biologist. They testified the remains found inside the U-Haul storage locker matched DNA found on a sanitary napkin from inside Giesbrecht’s home. Jeremy Giesbrecht was also found to be the father of each.
Court previously heard from two medical experts who said it was likely that some, if not all of the babies, were born alive.
Earlier Monday, the first witness to testify was the operations manager from Sentinel Self Storage, a facility Giesbrecht rented a unit at. The court heard she first rented a space in 1999 for “eight to ten years, (she) vacated, then came back and re-rented a storage unit in 2010,” said Karen Bodoano.
Bodoano explained several ledgers and logs from the company that indicated missed payments on the unit rented by Giesbrecht.
During cross-examination, Brodsky asked her whether she had ever seen the contents of Giesbrecht’s storage locker. She said she had.
“It was an anomaly that there was few items in the storage unit, so it stood out,” said Bodoana. “I saw two totes with lids and a pail to the right-hand side of them.”
Brodsky asked why Giesbrecht would need such a large space for so few items. Bodoana said she also had asked Giesbrecht about it before and was told “she had things that she couldn’t keep at home, like her jewelry.”
Giesbrecht moved her stuff out of the unit at Sentinel in March 2014. The contents look similar to what was found inside the U-Haul location in October.
It was then that U-Haul employees made the gruesome discovery of the dead infant’s inside rubbermaid containers and plastic bags that were sealed in pails.
BERLIN – A teenage Afghan migrant armed with an axe and a knife attacked passengers aboard a regional train in southern Germany on Monday night, injuring four people before he was shot and killed by police as he fled, authorities said.
Wuerzburg police said on their Facebook page that three of the victims suffered serious injuries and one was slightly injured. Another 14 people were being treated for shock.
Bavaria’s top security official, state Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann, told Germany’s ARD television that the attacker had been identified as a 17-year-old Afghan.
A firefighter stands at a road block in Wuerzburg, southern Germany, Monday evening July 18, 2016. Karl-Josef Hildenbrand/dpa via AP
A firefighter stands at a road block in Wuerzburg, southern Germany, Monday evening July 18, 2016.
Karl-Josef Hildenbrand/dpa via AP
Germany last year registered more than 1 million migrants entering the country, including more than 150,000 Afghans, but it was not immediately clear whether the suspect was among them or someone who had been in the country for a longer time.
Herrmann said initial information was that the suspect came to Germany as an unaccompanied minor and had lived in the Wuerzburg area for some time, initially at a refugee facility in the town of Ochsenfurt and more recently with a foster family.
He said authorities were still investigating the motive of the attack and were looking into reports that the suspect had yelled out “an exclamation” during the rampage. He was responding to reports that some witnesses had heard the suspect shout “Allahu Akbar” (“God Is Great”) during the attack.
The train was on its way from the Bavarian town of Treuchtlingen to Wuerzburg, which is about 60 miles (100 kilometres) northwest of Nuremberg.
In April 2016, Lethbridge County council passed the Community Aggregate Payment Levy Bylaw #1340. As is the case with most bylaws, it went into effect as soon as it passed third and final reading.
The levy charges $0.25 per tonne of gravel or sand transported within the county. The money will be put towards improving roads and infrastructure.
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Prior to April’s final reading, the county hosted six open houses and said it did significant advertising to inform residents and businesses of the bylaw.
However, some businesses believe that wasn’t enough.
“We knew that the county was considering it for some time, but we didn’t know they were going to implement it and retroactively ask us for that payment,” Mike Schmidtler, general manager of Lafarge Canada Southern Alberta, said.
At a special meeting Monday, council voted to change the implementation date to July 1, 2016, as requested by a number of concerned businesses.
County Reeve Lorne Hickey said everyone involved was looking for a fair compromise.
“A couple of companies had contracts made in December for delivery this year so they actually didn’t have the advantage to build [the levy] into them,” Hickey said.
“The other thing is, given the shortness of notice to them, unfortunately their representatives at the table did not pass along the information.”
Schmidtler hopes that communication between businesses and government improves.
“We don’t want to have a fight with our partners in government,” he said. “What we want to do is work collaboratively with them and roll this out in a way that is fair to customers and fair to the public.”
A letter submitted by four local businesses asks that a minimum of 12-months notice be given for any future changes to the levy.
HALIFAX – The Halifax taxi industry is in crisis after four alleged sexual assaults by drivers in three months have left customers frightened to take a cab, the head of a drivers’ association said Monday.
“It’s got to stop … It’s just getting to the point where we’re worried about when the next one is going to occur,” said Dave Buffett after police said they were looking for a driver accused of groping a 22-year-old woman early Sunday.
The recent spate of alleged assaults has raised safety concerns in a city where there were just three alleged sexual assaults by cab drivers in all of 2015.
READ MORE: Halifax police looking for taxi driver accused of groping 22-year-old woman
“For it to get to the point where people are worried about taking a cab, and whether they will be sexually assaulted, that is a crisis,” said Buffett, a driver for 17 years and president of the Halifax Taxi Drivers Owners Association.
Buffett said all cab drivers should be required to install dashboard cameras and participate in mandatory training to spell out the “dos and don’ts” of how to interact with passengers.
Halifax regional council, which regulates the industry, should make the issue a priority, but it is unlikely to do so, Buffett said.
WATCH BELOW (Jul. 11, 2016): There have been three sexual assault allegations against Halifax cab drivers in the past three months. Rebecca reports.
The problem is that council is guided by a taxi liaison group and a six-member standing committee on transportation, which is also tasked with advising council about the region’s complex municipal transit system. As a result, taxi issues are often pushed to the side, he said.
READ MORE: High number of reported sexual assaults in Halifax cabs a worry
“This has got to be moved along,” he said.
Coun. Steve Adams said he supports reviving a taxi commission that was disbanded in 2011. That body, which included industry representatives and a council member, was in charge of conducting routine inspections that kept the industry in line.
“You didn’t see junk cars on the road,” Adams said. “The commission, in my opinion, was the envy of the country.”
Adams agreed with Buffett that more education could be needed.
“And if there’s any training to be done, every driver should take it,” he said.
Under the existing rules, all taxi drivers are required to follow a code of conduct and complete a national standards certification program for taxi and limousine drivers administered by Nova Scotia Tourism.
The former taxi commission recommended the use of dashboard cameras more than a decade ago, but the idea was shelved because of privacy concerns, he said.
Still, Adams said mandatory cameras could be part of the solution, but only if they are made tamper-proof and always-on.
As well, all passengers should be encouraged to travel as part of a group and refrain from sitting in the front seat, he said.
READ MORE: Halifax cab driver charged with sexually assaulting passenger
“It’s discouraging and it’s disheartening … (and) it’s sad that it’s come to that,” Adams said. “But it’s the reality we have to deal with right now.”
Other councillors have suggested that the city should get the province to regulate the industry.
Const. Alicia Joseph, a spokeswoman for Halifax Regional Police, said of the seven sexual assault cases involving cab drivers since 2015, one has been dropped at the request of the complainant.
Charges have been laid in one of the cases from earlier this year and two investigations have yet to be completed, she said.
All three cases in 2015 resulted in charges, which are now being processed through the courts.
She said it’s always a good idea for passengers to take a photo of the number on the cab’s roof light. Police also say it’s good practice for passengers to speak to someone on a cellphone while they are en route.