Winnipeg man guilty of trying to kill ex-wife, two lawyers fires own counsel

WINNIPEG — A Manitoba man found guilty of attempting to murder his former wife and two lawyers by sending them letter bombs has fired his own legal counsel and told court Wednesday that evidence was “implanted” and fabricated.

Guido Amsel was arrested after three explosive packages were found in July 2015. Maria Mitousis, a lawyer who had represented Amsel’s ex-wife in a financial dispute, lost her right hand when one of the bombs went off in her office.

Last month, Amsel was found guilty on 15 charges, including four counts of attempted murder.

Amsel’s lawyer, Saheel Zaman, applied to withdraw from the case Wednesday. He told court Amsel fired him after the guilty verdict.

While waiting for a trial in 2016, Amsel also fired lawyer Martin Glazer.

Amsel told court he has been having difficulty getting a new lawyer. He blamed it on “a huge conflict of interest” since many lawyers know Mitousis. He said he was looking out of province and suggested he intended to appeal the conviction.

Judge Tracey Lord gave Amsel a few weeks to find a lawyer but said the “opportunity isn’t an endless one.” She told him sentencing would have to take place before any steps to appeal the conviction could begin.

In her verdict, Lord said Amsel’s motive was to punish Iris Amsel and the lawyers for their role in a contentious lawsuit he had filed over profits from an auto-body shop he co-owned with his former wife. He dropped the lawsuit shortly before the letter bombs were sent.

The bomb sent to Mitousis was the only one that exploded. The other two were safely detonated by police.

Amsel, testifying in his own defence, said he was being framed by his ex-wife.

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