A judge warned a jury not to accept opinion as evidence after the former assistant of a financial advisor charged in a bomb-murder plot tearfully accused him of the crime in court on Friday.
Barbara Tblus was being pressed by defence lawyer Bob Aloneissi about her testimony that bomb victim Victoria Shachtay had been very upset about her finances in the last call she took from her a few months before her death on Nov. 25, 2011.
Tblus said Shachtay was often upset about money not being in her account but the last call to the office of her financial advisor and the man accused of killing her, Brian Malley, was different.
“She was curt and upset before. But this one was different. She was really upset,” she testified in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench on Friday.
Aloneissi pointed out she hadn’t mentioned that to police, suggesting she made it up because she was no longer on “Team Malley,” a reference to a comment she made to police about her feelings for her former employer.
“I’m not making anything up,” said Tblus. “I’m not on Team Malley anymore because he frickin’ killed her for Christ’s sake.”
She then broke into tears.
The trial was then halted for a lunch break,
Later in the afternoon, Justice Kirk Sisson addressed the jury on the incident.
“I’m going to instruct you to ignore that outburst in the strongest possible terms,” he said.
When listening to testimony jurors must be “mindful of hearsay” and Sisson also noted only experts can offer opinions in court, and even then not on the central issue of whether a case has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt against an accused.
Until then a presumption of innocence presides, he said.
Malley, 57, is on trial for first-degree murder. He is accused of preparing a pipe bomb that blew up and killed Shachtay in her Innisfail home.
In other testimony, Tblus said Shachtay was considered a difficult client.
Malley, who took care of Shachtay’s finances, was planning to drop her as a client once he had recouped money lost on her investments, she said.
Tblus she said she and Malley’s wife Christine had been best friends. They hunted, fished, ran and did yoga together.
She said she looked up to Brian, for whom she worked from June 2009 until his arrest in May 2012.
But over time her feelings changed and she longer supported him.
It was also revealed that Tblus had complained to a labour board about not getting a final pay cheque from Malley after her employment ended.