‘Lied to this court’: Defence calls Crown’s star witness in 2020 Langford murder unreliable

File photo of the 2020 Langford murder scene.

As the first-degree murder trial wraps up in Victoria, we finally hear from the defence and their theory on why they believe their 28-year-old client, Damien Medwedrich, is not guilty of gunning down a known drug dealer back in 2020.

In this trial, there’s really only one witness that matters: Crown’s star witness, whose identity is under a publication ban.

That’s exactly who Medwedrich’s defence lawyer Sarah Runyon took aim at Tuesday, calling him a liar who minimized evidence in attempts to downplay his own participation in what she says was a planned robbery gone wrong.

Medwedrich is accused of gunning down ‘known’ drug dealer Alex Knatchbell in Langford in 2020. Knatchbell’s body was found inside his crashed truck along Humpback Road, his body riddled with 12 bullets.

Medwedrich is pleading not guilty to first-degree murder in the judge-only trial.

Most of the trial is based on the testimony of the only other person who was there at the murder scene — a man whose identity is protected by a publication ban. It’s that protected witness’ testimony and evidence, which most of the Crown’s case is based on. But Medwerich’s defence says he shouldn’t be trusted.

“This is not a reliable witness. He’s never been a reliable witness. This is a witness who has lied to the police and lied to this court,” Runyon told Justice Veronica Jackson.

Runyon says, despite testifying otherwise, the protected witness was himself a crack addict and dealer who made a plan with Medwedrich to rob Knatchbell.

In addition to lying, she says the witness minimized evidence, like his relationship with the victim, and feigned a lack of memory to almost every question she posed to him until she referred him back to police statements. All that, she pointed out, despite his mother testifying he has a good memory.

The witness previously told the courts that he has several learning disabilities.

She gave the judge a “Vetrovec warning,” suggesting that witness has a clear interest in the outcome of the trial by trying to absolve himself. As a result, Runyon says the judge should need independent confirmatory evidence to corroborate the protected witness’ testimony. Evidence, she says, doesn’t exist.

Runyon says the texts and videos that have been presented at trial are all circumstantial, arguing their contents could also be interpreted as the witness being the one who shot the victim.

She referred back to the witness’s mom’s testimony, who told the court, “There has to be something missing,” calling it haunting.

“There is a lot more in this room that is missing. This is the breeding ground for a wrongful conviction of first-degree murder,” argued Runyon to Jackson.

With the case based on circumstantial evidence and an unreliable witness, Medwerich’s defence says there’s not enough for the judge to convict on the charge of first-degree. Runyon says the only outcome she sees fit is the much-reduced sentence of manslaughter.

Crown will begin their closing arguments Wednesday afternoon.

RELATED: Accused killer on trial for 2020 Langford murder found on dating site for Canadian prisoners

Kori Sidaway

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