November 25, 2014 - 8:43 PM
PROSECUTOR QUESTIONS MAN ON TRIAL FOR MURDER
KAMLOOPS – A Kamloops jury watched today as a prosecutor aggressively cross-examined a man who said he bludgeoned his girlfriend to death in self defence.
In Kamloops Supreme Court on Tuesday, Crown prosecutor Iain Currie asked question after question, often repeating himself and taking Robert Donald Balbar through answers he gave in a previous trial. He testified earlier in this trial he killed his girlfriend Heather Hamill, but said he did it to defend himself along with his son. Balbar alleges Hamill threatened both of them with a machete.
Currie paced the courtroom, raised his voiced at times and challenged Balbar on the stand Tuesday afternoon, often to responses of "I don't know," “I have no idea" or "I don't remember."
Pressing on the crime scene clean-up, Currie asked Balbar about the amount of blood Hamill lost during the altercation that led to Balbar beating her to death with a hammer.
“You remember cleaning up the blood and I’m going to suggest to you that when you were cleaning it up there was quite a lot of it,” Currie said.
“It’s possible,” replied Balbar.
“I’m asking sir, about what you remember as opposed to what’s possible or what could be – what do you remember?” Currie asked.
Balbar said he grabbed a pile of clothes to clean the blood and threw them in the cooler where he said he placed Hamill's body.
“I have suggested to you that there was a lot of blood,” Currie said. “Do you have any idea how much blood there was?”
“I remember hearing the human body has eight quarts of blood or something... I have no idea how much the human body has. I don’t know how much there was,” Balbar said.
“Sorry sir, did I accidentally ask you a question about how much blood is in the human body?” Currie asked.
“I have no idea how much blood,” Balbar said.
“No, if I had asked you that question I want to take it back because I don’t want you to tell us in your medical opinion how much blood is in the human body. I’m wondering how much blood was on your floor,” Currie said.
“I’d be guessing,” Balbar said.
“Do you remember telling the jury at the first trial that there wasn’t much blood?” Currie asked.
Balbar continued to tell Currie he didn’t know the exact amount of blood and could guess if Currie wanted him to, but was cut short.
“I really really really don’t want you to guess and I really really really want you to answer my question,” Currie said.
“That’s what I said at the first trial, I don’t think there was a lot of blood,” Balbar said.
Currie seized when Balbar responded that he was also bleeding from when Hamill allegedly cut him with a knife during the attack.
“Are you saying it’s possible you bled more than Heather Hamill?” Currie asked.
“I have no idea,” Balbar said.
Turning to the alleged murder weapon, Currie asked Balbar what he did with the hammer he said he struck Hamill with.
“I might have (thrown) it in the river,” Balbar said.
“You don’t have any memory of doing that?” Currie asked.
Balbar responded that he moved out and got rid of almost everything in the apartment after Hamill died. Currie asked Balbar where he threw specific items such as his bed, table and an air conditioner. Balbar told Currie which dumpsters he threw each in, but said he could not remember where he placed the alleged murder weapon.
Currie asked Balbar if he recalled stashing the machete he said Hamill threatened him with and put previous evidence to him where Balbar described the machete’s location in a boiler room shelf of a downtown apartment building.
“It’s a pretty elaborate memory of what you did with the machete,” Currie said. “You don’t remember what you did with the hammer.”
Balbar said he remembered where he put the machete as he would often return to look at it when he was feeling upset about his crime and to remind himself of it.
Currie pried further into details of the crime, and asked why Balbar originally planned to bury Hamill but told the jury in the first trial he would dig the hole with a stick. In the retrial currently taking place, Balbar told the jury he packed a small garden shovel with him to dig the hole. He eventually cast the victim's body into the Thompson River.
Further questions were put to Balbar surrounding his confession to an undercover RCMP officer posing as a crime boss where he said he lied to embellish his answers so he could make a good impression.
Currie’s cross-examination of Balbar will continue Wednesday morning.
To contact the reporter for this story, email Glynn Brothen at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 250-319-7494. To contact the editor, email email@example.com or call 250-718-2724.
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