Man accused in Winnipeg mail bombings won't be released while he awaits trial - InfoNews

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Man accused in Winnipeg mail bombings won't be released while he awaits trial

Guido Amsel, 49, is shown in this undated handout photo. A man accused of sending letter bombs in the mail, including one that cost a lawyer her hand, has been denied his last chance at bail before his trial next year.THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Winnipeg Police Service MANDATORY CREDIT
May 12, 2016 - 1:41 PM

WINNIPEG - A man accused of sending letter bombs in the mail, including one that cost a lawyer her hand, has been denied his last chance at bail before his trial next year.

A gaunt-looking Guido Amsel showed no emotion when he heard the decision, but his wife wiped away tears and left the courtroom weeping.

Amsel is charged with three counts of attempted murder after letter bombs were sent to a pair of Winnipeg law firms and to his former wife last summer. Two of the explosives were safely detonated, but one exploded and seriously injured lawyer Maria Mitousis, who had represented Amsel's ex-wife in the couple's divorce.

Amsel is also facing attempted murder charges related to the detonation of an explosive device outside the home he once shared with his ex-wife in 2013. He has been in jail since July.

Amsel was denied bail last fall, but had appealed and waived his right to a publication ban. Justice Chris Martin upheld the original decision.

"There is no error in law," Martin said Thursday. "I disagree that (the lower court judge's) reasons can be read as having assumed Mr. Amsel was guilty."

The case involves a "well thought-out and executed act designed to kill or maim a specific target" which was also done in such "an indiscriminate manner" that it put innocent bystanders at risk, Martin noted.

Despite defence arguments, the Crown's case is "not, on its face, a weak one," Martin said, although he added that the allegations still have to be tested in a trial.

Martin Glazer, Amsel's lawyer, said the decision is disappointing since it means his client will remain behind bars until he is tried by a provincial judge alone in August 2017.

"That's more than two years from the time he was arrested," Glazer said. "That's a significant time to wait in jail when you are presumed innocent."

Martin dismissed the length of time Amsel has to wait for his day in court as a reason to grant him bail. The judge instead criticized both the defence and the Crown for not scheduling it sooner.

"A decision to hold Mr. Amsel in custody pending his trial does not signify that he is guilty and it does not ignore his constitutional rights," Martin said. "I urge Mr. Amsel and the Crown to get on with it."

Glazer said Amsel's health has been suffering while's he's been in custody. Two days ago, Glazer said, Amsel was hospitalized due to high blood pressure.

"Obviously he's disappointed. He wanted to go home and be with his wife and children and resume his business."

Glazer has said police arrested his client prematurely based on the concerns of his ex-wife. The defence lawyer has suggested Amsel is being "set up to take the fall for someone else."

News from © The Canadian Press, 2016
The Canadian Press

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