New evidence has surfaced in the second-degree murder trial of Surrey man Tejwant Danjou, in the form of a video which was not initially disclosed by RCMP.
The video, filmed by Danjou, claims to show his common-law partner Rama Gauravarapu flirting with another man while the two were on a flight to Las Vegas in May 2018 — just three months before he is alleged to have murdered her in a West Kelowna hotel room.
However, what Danjou claims the video contains, may not be what it shows.
On Tuesday, June 2, forensic psychiatrist Dr. Todd Tomita testified Danjou had shown him the video in their six-hour interview at Okanagan Correctional Centre.
Danjou claimed to Tomita that Gauravarapu had “hiked up her dress” while on the plane, allowing the man in the seat next to her to “flirt and fondle her.”
“I took it as nothing, but he said a man sitting next to him fondled her leg,” Tomita said of the video.
According to Danjou’s defence lawyer, Donna Turko, the content of the video is important in determining whether Danjou had delusions regarding Gauravarapu’s infidelity or if it progressed to hallucinations.
“Hallucination then makes the disassociation more in the realm of completely-out-of-touch,” she said.
Another aspect of discomfort, said Turko, is what else the RCMP may not have disclosed.
“This is a video in the time period relevant. They’ve disclosed hundreds of pieces of evidence. Why would this have gotten missed?” Turko said.
Turko suggested maybe the police need to go back and look through the material to see if anything else had been missed.
“It could go against me — it could help me — but I think it is my duty to make sure all the material that should be disclosed, is disclosed,” she said.
B.C. Supreme Court Judge Allison Beames asked why the defence only recently requested the video, seeing as it had come up numerous times through the proceedings.
Turko claimed it is not her responsibility to request such items, rather it is the responsibility of the RCMP and the Crown to disclose them.
The Crown said it had also not received the video initially and would have disclosed it if it had. A 1991 Supreme Court of Canada decision, R. v Stinchcombe, found the Crown has the duty to provide the defence with all evidence that could possibly be relevant to the case, even if the Crown itself doesn’t plan on calling that evidence.
“We take our Stinchcombe obligation very seriously,” said Crown counsel Michael Lefebure.
Turko requested an adjournment until Friday morning, so she could review the file with Dr. Tomita. Judge Beames granted that adjournment.
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