Accused Winnipeg letter bomber loses bid for out-of-province judge
Police have charged Guido Amsel with sending explosive devices to law firms and other businesses in Winnipeg. (Winnipeg Police Service)
The Canadian Press
Published Thursday, February 25, 2016 12:28PM EST
Last Updated Friday, April 8, 2016 11:55AM EDT
WINNIPEG -- A man accused of targeting his former wife and two lawyers with potentially lethal letter bombs has lost a bid to have a judge from another province brought in for the case.
Guido Amsel faces three counts of attempted murder as well as various weapons-related charges.
Two of the letter bombs last summer were safely detonated, but one exploded. Lawyer Maria Mitousis, who had represented Amsel's ex-wife in the couple's divorce, lost a hand in the blast and suffered severe injuries to her upper body.
Amsel has already been denied bail, but his lawyer, Martin Glazer, wanted a judge from another province brought in to hear an appeal of that decision.
Glazer, in a submission that Court of Queen's Bench Chief Justice Glenn Joyal said could have affected the trial as well, argued that Winnipeg's legal community is tight-knit and a judge from another province was needed to avoid the appearance of bias.
Joyal ruled Thursday that a local judge can oversee the bail appeal.
"There is no cogent evidence establishing a reasonable apprehension of bias," Joyal said.
Judges and lawyers knowing each other "does not displace the presumption that judges will fulfil their oaths," he added.
Joyal also ruled that there would be a "constitutional impediment" to bringing in a judge from another province, because judges are appointed to serve within their own jurisdictions.
The bail review is scheduled for March 20.
Amsel was arrested two days after the letter bomb went off in Mitousis' law office.
A fundraising website set up by her colleagues for the lawyer's recovery has raised $94,000.