The key witness in the case against former B.C. Lions football player Josh Boden will be allowed to testify via closed circuit television during his second-degree murder trial.
Boden has pleaded not guilty to the murder of 33-year-old Kimberly Hallgarth at her Colborne Avenue fourplex in Burnaby on March 15, 2009.
In his opening statement on the first day of Boden’s trial in November, Crown prosecutor Mark Crisp said Boden and Hallgarth had dated and, though they were no longer in a relationship, had maintained contact up until Hallgarth’s death.
Crisp laid out a theory that Boden had murdered Hallgarth because he blamed her for costing him his football career.
Hallgarth had complained about Boden physically abusing her and had sent photos of injuries to then-Lions head coach Wally Buono, who cut Boden from the CFL team, Crisp said.
Another of Boden’s ex-girlfriends, Heidi Nissen, is the Crown’s key witness in the case and an alleged eyewitness to the killing, according to Crisp.
Prosecutors applied for her to be allowed to testify against Boden via CCTV from another room at Vancouver Supreme Court, according to a ruling last week by B.C. Supreme Court Justice Barry Davies
“The witness says that she lives in fear of the accused. She says she is afraid for both herself and the children,” states the Jan. 20 ruling.
A psychologist, Dr. Bruce Monkhouse, had concluded Nissen shouldn’t be present in court when she testifies because being exposed to Boden would be likely to trigger traumatic reactions in her and increase the risk of her being unwilling to cooperate as a witness, according to the ruling.
Boden’s lawyers didn’t object to her testifying from behind a screen, but they objected to her being in another room and argued Monkhouse’s opinion shouldn't be inadmissible.
Davies, however, ruled that allowing Nissen to testify via CCTV was in the interests of justice and would facilitate a “full and candid account by the witness.”
He accepted Monkhouse’s opinion that Nissen was at risk of re-traumatization if she were to be exposed to Boden in court.
“I do not accept that those concerns can be adequately facilitated or addressed by use of a screen or other accommodation if the witness were required to testify in the presence of the accused in the same courtroom,” Davies said.
Nissen had been in a relationship with Boden before and after Hallgarth was killed, according to Davies’ ruling.
For parts of the nine years following Hallgarth's death, Boden and Nissen lived together and had two children.
“The relationship was marked by discord that often involved the police as well as child welfare agencies,” the ruling stated.
Boden’s trial began on Nov. 3.
It was adjourned after three days to deal with the Crown’s application.
Boden’s trial resumes Feb. 2 for two weeks.
B.C. Prosecution Service spokesperson Dan McLaughlin said extra time will have to be set after that to conclude the trial, but that time hasn’t yet been fixed.
With files from Jane Seyd, North Shore News.