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Witness a no-show at trial in St. John's court

Ryan Farrell, 31, prepares to leave the courtroom during a lunch break in his trial Wednesday. Later in the day, Farrell was acquitted of all charges in connection with a stabbing on Southside Road in St. John’s in March.
Ryan Farrell during a previous court appearance. - Tara Bradbury file photo/The Telegram

Judge issues arrest warrant; Ryan Farrell’s case to resume Friday

When it comes to testifying against Ryan Farrell in court, witnesses don't often seem to show up.

Last May, an alleged stabbing victim didn't turn up to testify against Farrell, resulting in the Crown withdrawing Farrell's charges.

In August, a woman Farrell was accused of harassing over Facebook ignored her subpoena, later indicating she was no longer interested in pursuing the matter.

On Wednesday, it happened again: having pleaded not guilty to charges of assault, robbery with violence and uttering threats, Farrell saw another trial postponed after the complainant — the same woman — was nowhere to be found when the case was called before the judge in provincial court in St. John's.

Prosecutor Richard Deveau and defence lawyer Michelle Elliott had witnesses ready and waiting outside the courtroom to testify.

Deveau asked Judge Jacqueline Brazil for a warrant, explaining the woman had been subpoenaed as a witness early in November.

"There's some history between the parties and some reluctance to come forward, but we don't know why she's not here today."

— Richard Deveau, crown prosecutor

"The absent witness is material to the Crown's case. I'm asking for a witness warrant so we can find out where she is, find out if she's going to co-operate. If we can't find her, the Crown will have to call no evidence."

Brazil postponed the matter for about half an hour to allow police time to pay the woman a visit, but there was no answer at her door. Despite a protest from Elliott — who pointed out her client is in custody — Brazil issued the warrant for the woman's arrest and set the case over until Friday.

It didn't take long for that warrant to be executed: the woman was arrested by a sheriff minutes after court adjourned, while she was standing in the hallway.

Farrell is well known to the courts. In August he represented himself at a trial on charges of assaulting his former landlord with a hammer, uttering threats, damaging the landlord's phone cord and breaching court orders, after the pair got into a heated argument a month earlier. He was sentenced to 60 days in jail.

"It's a perfect day to be in the paper. It's my birthday," Farrell, who turned 32 Wednesday, told a Telegram reporter in the courtroom.

Twitter: @tara_bradbury

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