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.
It’s an augmented-reality craze sparked by a game now officially available in Canada and it has Calgarians eager to hit the streets in search of treasured digital creatures.
By Monday afternoon, Calgary police had already responded to about 10 calls for service related to the new Pokémon Go app since Friday. They included suspicious person calls, trespassing calls and other disturbances.
“We had some trespassing where some kids wandered in to a construction site,” Cst. Mark Smith, with Calgary police’s digital communications unit, said. “They didn’t realize that they were trespassing but we attended and we just gave them some words of advice.”
Smith admits he’s testing out the new phenomenon firsthand.
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“I actually caught a Weedle right here.”
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While the risks of distracted walking, trespassing and other Pokémon Go concerns have been widespread, even more serious warnings are emerging.
“Be aware of people that are looking to steal cellphones and things like that. They might set a lure to get people to come and then you get crimes happening that way as well,” Smith said.
Across the county, ads are popping up on online sites.
Websites like Kijiji have people offering services like driving Pokémon Go players around Toronto to “Catch ’em all” – enticing them by providing snacks, charging cords, and air conditioning.
READ MORE: Pokémon Go players can now hire a chauffeur in Vancouver
In Calgary, a quick Kijiji search found a “23 year old woman looking for someone to play Pokémon Go with” and others offering unique babysitting services to take kids out searching for Pokémons.
Police said while many ads may be legitimate, it’s important to be diligent.
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“It kind of comes down to the common sense. You’ve just got to ask yourself, ‘What risks are involved and is it worth that risk? Is it worth catching a legendary Pokémon and what could happen?’”
Catching #Pokemon w/ @985TJ at the Calgary Courthouse. That’s what I’m doin’ at the courthouse. #yyc pic.twitter长沙桑拿/s4bo42LiQ2
— Fuzzy (@Fuzzy985) July 18, 2016
Just saw a guy almost get nailed by a C-Train playing Pokemon Go downtown. Keep your heads up people @Calgarytransit #YYC
— RegJoeYYC (@RegularJoeYYC) July 18, 2016
Found a Pokemon next to a @globalcalgary vehicle in Downtown #yyc #PokemonGO pic.twitter长沙桑拿/OGRviyv0P9
— heymannyg (@heymannyg) July 11, 2016
NewLeaf Travel has added Edmonton to its list of non-stop flights from Winnipeg, according to a news release Monday.
On the same day, NewLeaf announced it is partnering with Calgary company, Jump On Flyaways, to offer travelers a chance to bid on unsold seats.
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The company will accept and gather bids on the eleven routes and present them to NewLeaf, according to a news release Monday.
“Our bidding platform was developed to allow ‘Jumpers’, or flexible travellers, to bid on potentially unsold airline seats,” said Roger Jewett, CEO, Jump On Flyaway in a release. “We receive bids during the flight booking period and present them to NewLeaf, who may accept high bids at their discretion. ”
NewLeaf can accept the bids anytime up to 48 hours before the flight. When a bid is accepted the flyer’s credit card is charged and the ticket is sent two days before takeoff.
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NewLeaf Travel has faced a number of hurdles and challenges as the company approaches its first scheduled flights on July 25.
Last week’s rain put a damper on many things in the Calgary area, even for folks used to extreme adventure.
Organizers of the Banded Peak Challenge decided to pull the plug on their annual event on Thursday.
The event sees participants get a little dirty and raise a whole lot of money. The backcountry hike and bike race takes place west of Calgary and has been a big fundraiser for Alberta Easter Seals for the past 16 years. The money raised is used to help send kids with disabilities to Camp Horizon.
Another southern Alberta event cancelled due to cold and wet conditions
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“Over 90 per cent of those dollars went right back to Easter Seals Camp Horizon and went to the subsidies for the families to make sure they didn’t have to pay any more than 50 per cent of those costs,” Patti Brewin, Easter Seals Camp Horizon’s campaign director, said.
“We knew this weekend with the rain, already the trails on Thursday were in really bad shape. Very unsafe for people to be on them at all. So we made the call to cancel it,” Brewin said.
For Easter Seals, the news has gone from bad to worse. The charity used to hold their annual race on Banded Peak near Bragg Creek. But when the floods of 2013 hit, the trail they used was wiped out and is still closed. Since then, the race has been held on nearby Moose Mountain but it hasn’t been nearly as popular.
“You still mountain bike and you still hike, but it’s Moose Mountain,” Brewin said. “It’s one of those trails that you could do any weekend. It’s very accessible, very easy to do. So the uptake from the public just isn’t as strong there for people to come out and really feel like they’re doing something exceptional.”
That has translated into fewer participants and a lot less cash. The Banded Peak Challenge used to typically bring in $80,000 every year for Easter Seals. The year it was moved, fundraising totals dropped to $50,000 and this year it was only projected to bring in $11,000.
“We’ve had a really tough time out there with the weather,” Brewin said. “It does put more pressure on us in terms of our other events. This is a tough year in Calgary. It’s a very depressed economy out there and those donations aren’t coming as freely as they were in the past so we are really feeling the effects. And we have taken measures already to reduce our operating costs for the year.”
Camp Horizon hasn’t been affected yet and families are still being subsidized to help cover the $1,200 cost of sending a child to camp for a week but that could change.
“We will be having all those big conversations I think this fall because this economy and the situation is probably not going to change,” Brewin said.
Another charity hit by the weather is the Rotary Club of Calgary. They were expecting to raise around $175,000 dollars at the annual Oxford Stomp event at Fort Calgary, which was cancelled Friday.
READ MORE: Calgary has already exceeded July average rainfall totals
“Public safety was and always remains a primary concern for ourselves with events like this and it just look too risky,” Joe Fras, with the Rotary Club of Calgary-Downtown, said on Monday. “So with great reluctance, we had to make the tough call.”
Organizers said it’s the first time in the event’s history at the Fort Calgary location that it’s had to be cancelled. Ticket sales were already down by 20 per cent because of the economy.
On the plus side, the Rotary Club recently purchased event cancellation insurance for the Oxford Stomp.
“The good news is that we have the event cancellation insurance and we will be able to recover – hopefully – a good portion of that projected $175,000 plus our cost that we’ve incurred,” Fras said. “The weather patterns in Calgary and in other parts of the world are becoming a little more severe and unpredictable and this has just become a fact of life.”
The over 9,000 ticket holders will be contacted regarding refunds, however the process could take up to two months.
NEW YORK – Health officials are trying to unravel how a relative may have picked up a Zika infection from a Utah man who died.
The tropical virus rarely spreads from person to person, not like the flu or the measles. The virus can pass from a pregnant woman to her fetus and cause birth defects. And it can also be spread through sex. But it is mostly spread by mosquitoes.
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In the Utah case, health officials are looking for other explanations. Only the elderly man, who died in late June, had been in a country with a Zika outbreak — not the relative who had been caring for him.
HOW IS ZIKA USUALLY SPREAD?
The bite of a mosquito. That’s behind the large outbreaks in dozens of countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. It’s the same mosquito — Aedes aegypti — that can spread other tropical diseases, like dengue fever, chikungunya and yellow fever. In fact, the bug was known as the yellow fever mosquito for many years.
READ MORE: What doctors know about how Zika virus potentially spreads
HOW DOES THAT WORK?
It starts with a person who is infected with Zika. A female mosquito bites that person and drinks in blood, which it needs to make eggs. Then it spreads the virus when it bites another person nearby. Health officials don’t think that’s what happened in Utah; the Zika mosquito hasn’t been seen in Salt Lake City. But it’s theoretically possible that an infected mosquito returned with the elderly man from his trip abroad — perhaps in his suitcase — and bit the relative.
WHAT ABOUT BLOOD?
Zika can be spread through blood, but official stress that mosquito bites are the way most people are infected. There’s been at least one instance of a lab worker who was accidentally infected through blood. The virus stays in the blood for about a week. The Food and Drug Administration has recommended that blood banks decline donations from people who have travelled to Zika areas within the previous month.
READ MORE: Should Canadians worry about Zika virus?
BUT, WHAT ELSE?
Evidence of Zika infection has been found in number of other body fluids, including saliva, urine, semen, vaginal fluid and even breast milk. Scientists have established that it’s been spread through sex, mostly by men to their partners. Health officials say there’s no evidence that Zika can be spread through coughing or sneezing or routine touching.
WHAT HAPPENED IN UTAH?
The elderly man had an extremely large amount of virus in his blood — the most ever seen. That helped make this case highly unusual, said officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Higher levels of virus in the blood can make someone more contagious.
His infection was only confirmed through tests after he died. He had another health condition, which health officials have not identified, and it is unclear if Zika played a role in his death. Disease detectives are investigating the possibility that the relative somehow caught it while caring for the elderly man at a home and in a hospital. The male relative had developed a mild Zika illness and quickly recovered. In most people, the virus causes a mild illness at worst.
Investigators are doing more interviewing and testing other family members and health-care workers who may have been in close contact with the man who died. They also are trapping local mosquitoes.
CDC Zika page: 长沙桑拿按摩论坛长沙夜生活cdc.gov/zika/
LETHBRIDGE – Two medicine hat men are facing charges after police say they defrauded three Lethbridge businesses.
During a week-long investigation, members of the Lethbridge Police Service Economic Crimes unit, alongside Medicine Hat Police, tracked the subjects’ activity as they used fake credit cards to purchase items. The men would attempt to use an admin card to manipulate the point of sale terminal, cards with no banking or financial labeling associated to them, and manually entering the numbers of the credit card. As a result, the transactions would display as approved, only for the merchant of the business to be later informed the card number is invalid.
Police located the subjects on July 14, but the men refused to stop and fled from officers. They were discovered a short time later in a south-side parking lot, and were arrested without further incident. During a search of the vehicle, officers recovered a small quantity of cocaine and drug paraphernalia, multiple credit and debit cards, a written list of what appears to be more credit card numbers, receipts, and an array of property, including electronics, liquor and cigarettes.
Police believe the men visited Lethbridge solely with the purpose of defrauding local businesses.
James Robert Stuart, 27, of Medicine Hat, is charged with breach of a recognizance, flight from a peace officer, possession of stolen property, fraud and two counts of attempted fraud.
Nicholas Dwaine Belanger, 27, of Medicine Hat, is charged with possession of a controlled substance, possession of stolen property, attempted fraud and fraud.
Both men made their first court appearance Monday morning and were remanded in custody. Their next court appearance is Wednesday.
Police believe there may be other victims, and are therefore, releasing photos of the men. If you recognize the suspects or believe that they may have attended or defrauded your business, you are asked to contact police at 403-328-4444.