Judge denies bid for acquittal in Calgary grandfather's manslaughter trial

CALGARY — A judge says the Crown has presented enough evidence for a Calgary grandfather's manslaughter trial to continue.

Allan Perdomo Lopez is charged in the death of his five-year-old grandson Emilio Perdomo.

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The trial has heard the boy died of a traumatic brain injury in July 2015, five months after he arrived in Canada from Mexico.

Defence lawyer Darren Mahoney asked for a directed verdict to acquit his client, which would have ended the trial before Mahoney's opportunity to submit evidence.

He argued the prosecution's case is too weak to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Perdomo Lopez committed an unlawful act that caused the boy's death.

Queen's Bench Justice Richard Neufeld, who is hearing the case without a jury, ruled the Crown's case was sufficient for him to make a decision and he denied the defence request.

"The absence of direct evidence... does not mean that a reasonable trier of fact could not infer and find an assault had taken place," Neufeld said Wednesday.

Neufeld said it remains to be seen whether he will ultimately be convinced by the Crown's case and that Perdomo Lopez is still presumed innocent.

Mahoney had argued that if the case were being heard before a jury there would be the risk of a wrongful conviction.

"There's no evidence of anyone observing the actual injury, how it took place, the manner the injury was sustained or if it was a blow, or if it was by a fall ... There's no evidence of how it happened," he said.

"All you've been given is a bunch of possibilities."

Prosecutor Vicki Faulkner argued the accused's recorded admission of guilt constitutes direct evidence. The trial heard a police intercept earlier this week of Perdomo Lopez saying, "I didn't want to kill that child" while he prayed.

A forensic pathologist who did the boy's autopsy testified there was not enough evidence to classify the death as either an accident or a homicide. Other expert testimony for the Crown suggested Emilio was assaulted.

Mahoney said he will consult with his client before deciding whether to present evidence.

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