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Frustrated suspect put on mute by St. John's judge

Ryan Farrell, 31, represented himself in provincial court Wednesday on charges of assault with a weapon, uttering threats, mischief and breaching court orders in connection with an altercation with his landlord a month ago. Farrell told the judge, “I think I’ll go to law school once I get pardoned."
Ryan Farrell, 31, is shown in provincial court earlier this year. On Friday he appeared by video link from prison. —Tara Bradbury/The Telegram

Crown says Ryan Farrell’s outburst shows why complainant is intimidated

Ryan Farrell was back in a St. John’s courtroom by video link from prison Friday morning, interrupting proceedings, demanding to represent himself and attempting to yell directly at the complainant in his case to the point where she ran out of the courtroom.

He only went silent when Judge Mark Pike pushed the mute button on the video system.

Farrell, 32, was scheduled to go to trial earlier this week on charges of assault, robbery with violence and uttering threats against a woman, but the case was postponed when the woman didn’t show up to testify. A warrant was issued for her arrest and she was apprehended minutes after court adjourned, standing in the hallway. She was released again a short time later.

Crown prosecutor Richard Deveau told the court as proceedings got underway Friday the woman has indicated she wants to proceed with the charges. Deveau and defence lawyer Michelle Elliott then began trying to co-ordinate their availability with the court for a new trial date for Farrell, causing him to become upset at the postponement.

At one point, Deveau indicated he had no availability until the new year. Farrell mistakenly understood it was his own lawyer who wasn’t free, and that’s when his outburst began.

"If she’s not going to represent me, I’ll fire her right now! I’ll represent myself and show Legal Aid how to do it." Farrell said.

"I’ll say this, too, since the complainant is there and can hear me loud and clear," he continued, as the woman left the room. Farrell was cut off by the mute button.

Pointing out Farrell’s behaviour, Deveau told the judge the woman was feeling intimidated and that’s why she was reluctant to testify.

"His frustration arises from the fact that he’s in custody on charges he believes he may be acquitted of, that’s why he wants the quickest possible trial date. The man is entitled to be frustrated," Elliott said.

Elliott told the judge there was defence evidence she wanted Deveau to present to the complainant in private, saying she believed it may have an impact on what happens next.

"I’ve already advised (Elliott) that this trial is proceeding," Deveau responded.

Farrell’s case will be called again Dec. 17.

In the past year, Farrell has been scheduled for three separate trials, including his present matter, in which the complainants did not show up to testify. Last spring, he was acquitted of charges related to a stabbing on Southside Road when the male victim didn’t come to court, while in August, charges against him of harassing a woman on social media were dropped for the same reason.

Farrell represented himself at trial in August on charges of assaulting his former landlord with a hammer, uttering threats, damaging the landlord’s phone cord and breaching court orders, and was found guilty. He was sentenced to 60 days in jail.

tara.bradbury@thetelegram.com

Twitter: @tara_bradbury

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