Man accused of killing infant son will remain in custody

Derek Montague
Published on November 14, 2013
Thomas George Michel, who is accused of killing his infant son last month, arrives at the Happy Valley-Goose Bay courthouse. — Photo by Derek Montague/The Labradorian

Thomas George Michel, charged with second-degree murder in the death of his four-month-old son, will remain in custody at the Labrador Correctional Centre in Happy Valley-Goose Bay.

The infant was taken to hospital on Oct. 15, where the RCMP was called due to the suspicious nature of the boy’s death.

The 22-year-old Sheshatshiu man appeared in Happy Valley-Goose Bay Provincial Court shortly after 3 p.m. today, although his hearing was scheduled to go ahead earlier in the afternoon. As the hearing began, his defence attorney, Stacey Ryan, voiced her frustration with the delay.

“Mr. Michel’s hearing was scheduled for 1:30, but he was not brought to the courthouse until (2:40). This is unacceptable,” said Ryan.

The Crown quickly moved for Michel to be held in custody, pending a possible bail hearing, due to the serious nature of the charges. Judge John Joy agreed with the Crown, and set a date of Dec. 20 for a disclosure hearing.

In the packed courthouse, Joy noted that if the defendant wants to set a bail hearing, that jurisdiction lies in the hands of the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador.

After Michel was escorted out of the courtroom, two women from Sheshatshiu, who were there to watch the hearing, broke down into screaming sobs. Many others shed quiet tears.

2013 has been a difficult year for the Innu community. In June, the body of Bernice Rich was found in a wooded area in Sheshatshiu, which prompted the arrest of 30-year-old Gordon Raymond Milley, who was charged with first-degree murder.

A little more than a month later, a single-vehicle car accident claimed the life of another Sheshatshiu resident. It was later determined that alcohol was a contributing factor in that incident.

The Labradorian