Clairmont: Defence lawyer’s cross-examination brings drama to Bosma trial

News Apr 05, 2016 by Susan Clairmont The Hamilton Spectator

Murder trials are mostly undramatic.

They politely plod along, thick with legal arguments, meticulous questioning and best behaviours.

But for 92 minutes Monday an old-school defence lawyer unleashed a torrent of attacks unlike any the jury has seen at the Tim Bosma murder trial. Thomas Dungey's grilling of Crown witness Shane Schlatman brought more drama than any courtroom exchange since the trial began nine weeks ago.

In the process the jury hears for the first time that: police were investigating stolen vehicles in the Millardair hangar; Schlatman, the Millardair mechanic, did nothing when told the mysterious black truck that suddenly appeared belonged to Tim, the missing Ancaster man; Schlatman lied to police.

And Dungey seems to catch Schlatman in another lie right there on the witness stand.

By the end of it, Dungey and Schlatman are heated as it becomes clear Schlatman could have called police about Tim's truck at a time when a massive search for him was ongoing.

"Maybe I didn't do everything exactly the way I should have," Schlatman says.

"You didn't do anything," bellows Dungey.

On May 6, 2013 Tim, 32, took two men for a test drive of his truck and never returned home to his wife and little girl. Dellen Millard, 30, who inherited Millardair, and Mark Smich, 28, are on trial for his first degree murder. The Crown's theory is they shot Tim in his truck and burned his body.

Dungey, a lawyer for 40 years, is defending Smich.

A colourful character in the courtroom, Dungey speaks seldom and is blunt. Often he has nothing for Crown witnesses, but when he does, his cross-examination is short and sharp. One or two hard-hitting questions is all he needs to make his point.

Last Thursday, when it was his turn to cross-examine Schlatman, Dungey elicited groans from the court when he told Justice Andrew Goodman he was tired and asked if he could begin Monday instead.

On Monday, Dungey gets to his feet and wastes no time setting the tone.

Millard is your friend, he suggests to Schlatman, and you want to protect him because you had a "posh job" tinkering with hobby vehicles.

Dungey calls Millard "a spoiled boy" who wrecked his Jeep 15 miles into a 500-mile race in Baja, Mexico and destroyed a $60,000 excavator driving it into a swamp.

Schlatman concedes "Dell" was a fast and reckless driver which Dungey says is indicative of Millard's approach to life.

Through Dungey's prodding, Schlatman admits his boss has a temper that can flare if anyone challenges him. So Schlatman always does as told.

"He controls you all the time?" asks Dungey. "Yes," answers Schlatman.

A used Bobcat shows up at the hangar and Millard orders Schlatman to remove its GPS tracking device. "Are you sort of closing your eyes here where this equipment comes from?" asks Dungey. Same with a Harley-Davidson motorcycle and trailer, a wood chipper and cement mixer.

Schlatman says police told him they were investigating some of those items as stolen.

May 8, 2013, Tim's truck is in the hangar. Schlatman says Millard told him he bought it.

May 9, 2013, Schlatman says his father-in-law, who was doing a co-op at the hangar, told him he'd reported the truck's VIN number to Crime Stoppers, which confirmed it was Tim's.

"Why didn't you do your duty and call police?" Dungey demands loudly.

"(Dell) was my friend and I believed him," says Schlatman. "Everything was a blur."

Dungey counters: "Your loyalty is so great, to hell with Bosma! …Whatever Dell wants, Dell gets!"

In his statement to police after Millard's arrest, Schlatman lies about the whereabouts of a red truck. He admits his lie only after police threaten to charge him.

Dungey builds to a crescendo as he elicits from Schlatman repeated assurances he never talked to Millard about the black truck until after police came by on Friday, May 10, 2013.

But when Dungey presents him with text messages that suggest otherwise, he again recants.

"I might have talked to him Thursday night," Schlatman admits.

With that damage done, Dungey has no further questions.

Susan Clairmont’s commentary appears regularly in The Spectator. sclairmont@thespec.com

905-526-3539 | @susanclairmont

Clairmont: Defence lawyer’s cross-examination brings drama to Bosma trial

News Apr 05, 2016 by Susan Clairmont The Hamilton Spectator

Murder trials are mostly undramatic.

They politely plod along, thick with legal arguments, meticulous questioning and best behaviours.

But for 92 minutes Monday an old-school defence lawyer unleashed a torrent of attacks unlike any the jury has seen at the Tim Bosma murder trial. Thomas Dungey's grilling of Crown witness Shane Schlatman brought more drama than any courtroom exchange since the trial began nine weeks ago.

In the process the jury hears for the first time that: police were investigating stolen vehicles in the Millardair hangar; Schlatman, the Millardair mechanic, did nothing when told the mysterious black truck that suddenly appeared belonged to Tim, the missing Ancaster man; Schlatman lied to police.

And Dungey seems to catch Schlatman in another lie right there on the witness stand.

By the end of it, Dungey and Schlatman are heated as it becomes clear Schlatman could have called police about Tim's truck at a time when a massive search for him was ongoing.

"Maybe I didn't do everything exactly the way I should have," Schlatman says.

"You didn't do anything," bellows Dungey.

On May 6, 2013 Tim, 32, took two men for a test drive of his truck and never returned home to his wife and little girl. Dellen Millard, 30, who inherited Millardair, and Mark Smich, 28, are on trial for his first degree murder. The Crown's theory is they shot Tim in his truck and burned his body.

Dungey, a lawyer for 40 years, is defending Smich.

A colourful character in the courtroom, Dungey speaks seldom and is blunt. Often he has nothing for Crown witnesses, but when he does, his cross-examination is short and sharp. One or two hard-hitting questions is all he needs to make his point.

Last Thursday, when it was his turn to cross-examine Schlatman, Dungey elicited groans from the court when he told Justice Andrew Goodman he was tired and asked if he could begin Monday instead.

On Monday, Dungey gets to his feet and wastes no time setting the tone.

Millard is your friend, he suggests to Schlatman, and you want to protect him because you had a "posh job" tinkering with hobby vehicles.

Dungey calls Millard "a spoiled boy" who wrecked his Jeep 15 miles into a 500-mile race in Baja, Mexico and destroyed a $60,000 excavator driving it into a swamp.

Schlatman concedes "Dell" was a fast and reckless driver which Dungey says is indicative of Millard's approach to life.

Through Dungey's prodding, Schlatman admits his boss has a temper that can flare if anyone challenges him. So Schlatman always does as told.

"He controls you all the time?" asks Dungey. "Yes," answers Schlatman.

A used Bobcat shows up at the hangar and Millard orders Schlatman to remove its GPS tracking device. "Are you sort of closing your eyes here where this equipment comes from?" asks Dungey. Same with a Harley-Davidson motorcycle and trailer, a wood chipper and cement mixer.

Schlatman says police told him they were investigating some of those items as stolen.

May 8, 2013, Tim's truck is in the hangar. Schlatman says Millard told him he bought it.

May 9, 2013, Schlatman says his father-in-law, who was doing a co-op at the hangar, told him he'd reported the truck's VIN number to Crime Stoppers, which confirmed it was Tim's.

"Why didn't you do your duty and call police?" Dungey demands loudly.

"(Dell) was my friend and I believed him," says Schlatman. "Everything was a blur."

Dungey counters: "Your loyalty is so great, to hell with Bosma! …Whatever Dell wants, Dell gets!"

In his statement to police after Millard's arrest, Schlatman lies about the whereabouts of a red truck. He admits his lie only after police threaten to charge him.

Dungey builds to a crescendo as he elicits from Schlatman repeated assurances he never talked to Millard about the black truck until after police came by on Friday, May 10, 2013.

But when Dungey presents him with text messages that suggest otherwise, he again recants.

"I might have talked to him Thursday night," Schlatman admits.

With that damage done, Dungey has no further questions.

Susan Clairmont’s commentary appears regularly in The Spectator. sclairmont@thespec.com

905-526-3539 | @susanclairmont

Clairmont: Defence lawyer’s cross-examination brings drama to Bosma trial

News Apr 05, 2016 by Susan Clairmont The Hamilton Spectator

Murder trials are mostly undramatic.

They politely plod along, thick with legal arguments, meticulous questioning and best behaviours.

But for 92 minutes Monday an old-school defence lawyer unleashed a torrent of attacks unlike any the jury has seen at the Tim Bosma murder trial. Thomas Dungey's grilling of Crown witness Shane Schlatman brought more drama than any courtroom exchange since the trial began nine weeks ago.

In the process the jury hears for the first time that: police were investigating stolen vehicles in the Millardair hangar; Schlatman, the Millardair mechanic, did nothing when told the mysterious black truck that suddenly appeared belonged to Tim, the missing Ancaster man; Schlatman lied to police.

And Dungey seems to catch Schlatman in another lie right there on the witness stand.

By the end of it, Dungey and Schlatman are heated as it becomes clear Schlatman could have called police about Tim's truck at a time when a massive search for him was ongoing.

"Maybe I didn't do everything exactly the way I should have," Schlatman says.

"You didn't do anything," bellows Dungey.

On May 6, 2013 Tim, 32, took two men for a test drive of his truck and never returned home to his wife and little girl. Dellen Millard, 30, who inherited Millardair, and Mark Smich, 28, are on trial for his first degree murder. The Crown's theory is they shot Tim in his truck and burned his body.

Dungey, a lawyer for 40 years, is defending Smich.

A colourful character in the courtroom, Dungey speaks seldom and is blunt. Often he has nothing for Crown witnesses, but when he does, his cross-examination is short and sharp. One or two hard-hitting questions is all he needs to make his point.

Last Thursday, when it was his turn to cross-examine Schlatman, Dungey elicited groans from the court when he told Justice Andrew Goodman he was tired and asked if he could begin Monday instead.

On Monday, Dungey gets to his feet and wastes no time setting the tone.

Millard is your friend, he suggests to Schlatman, and you want to protect him because you had a "posh job" tinkering with hobby vehicles.

Dungey calls Millard "a spoiled boy" who wrecked his Jeep 15 miles into a 500-mile race in Baja, Mexico and destroyed a $60,000 excavator driving it into a swamp.

Schlatman concedes "Dell" was a fast and reckless driver which Dungey says is indicative of Millard's approach to life.

Through Dungey's prodding, Schlatman admits his boss has a temper that can flare if anyone challenges him. So Schlatman always does as told.

"He controls you all the time?" asks Dungey. "Yes," answers Schlatman.

A used Bobcat shows up at the hangar and Millard orders Schlatman to remove its GPS tracking device. "Are you sort of closing your eyes here where this equipment comes from?" asks Dungey. Same with a Harley-Davidson motorcycle and trailer, a wood chipper and cement mixer.

Schlatman says police told him they were investigating some of those items as stolen.

May 8, 2013, Tim's truck is in the hangar. Schlatman says Millard told him he bought it.

May 9, 2013, Schlatman says his father-in-law, who was doing a co-op at the hangar, told him he'd reported the truck's VIN number to Crime Stoppers, which confirmed it was Tim's.

"Why didn't you do your duty and call police?" Dungey demands loudly.

"(Dell) was my friend and I believed him," says Schlatman. "Everything was a blur."

Dungey counters: "Your loyalty is so great, to hell with Bosma! …Whatever Dell wants, Dell gets!"

In his statement to police after Millard's arrest, Schlatman lies about the whereabouts of a red truck. He admits his lie only after police threaten to charge him.

Dungey builds to a crescendo as he elicits from Schlatman repeated assurances he never talked to Millard about the black truck until after police came by on Friday, May 10, 2013.

But when Dungey presents him with text messages that suggest otherwise, he again recants.

"I might have talked to him Thursday night," Schlatman admits.

With that damage done, Dungey has no further questions.

Susan Clairmont’s commentary appears regularly in The Spectator. sclairmont@thespec.com

905-526-3539 | @susanclairmont