Christie Blatchford: Woman accused of killing her husband scolds judge as part of strident self-defense

Over the past few weeks, a Toronto judge and jury have gotten a glimpse of what life for Dong Huang, may he rest in peace, might have been like.

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Over the past few weeks, a Toronto judge and jury have gotten a glimpse of what life for Dong Huang, may he rest in peace, might have been like.

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The 40-year-old’s body was found nearly five years ago in the Scarborough basement apartment he shared with his wife, Xiu Jin Teng.

With his wrists and ankles bound, and a puncture wound suggestive of a needle in his arm, Huang died by strangulation with ligatures, not, as Teng first put it, of a heart attack.

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Now 40, she pleads not guilty to first-degree murder and, uncharacteristically, represents herself at trial, occasionally skillfully, but more reliably, stridently.

His voice occasionally rising to a scream, a constant feature of Teng’s self-defense is his intimidation and berating Ontario Superior Court Judge Ian MacDonnell. On Tuesday, for example, MacDonnell tried to ask Teng if, now that Crown prosecutors had closed his case, he intended to present evidence or testify.

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The judge had explained to the jurors that, of course, the burden of proving Teng’s guilt falls entirely on the prosecutors and that she is not required to do anything to prove her innocence.

You are a biased and evil judge! You make a lot of mistakes!

He then turned to Teng, who stood up and immediately started barking at him. Although always accompanied by a Mandarin interpreter, Teng often addresses the judge directly in English.

“Your Honor, I repeat many times, he questions me many times… I have many witnesses to call, four witnesses, why are you asking me again? It’s obvious I have witnesses to call!

MacDonnell then explained to the jurors, as he had earlier with Teng, that he had determined that his first witness “has no material evidence to adduce” and that the other three are out of the country, two of them fugitives under Immigration Law. .

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He then offered him, as he had done before, the opportunity to reproduce the evidence that two gave at the previous preliminary hearing and for the third, a videotaped statement.

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“Yes or no, Mrs. Teng?” asked the judge.

“Your Honor, I told you many times,” Teng began.

“Yes or no?” the judge repeated.

“You should have given me a defense attorney,” she snapped. “First point! Second point, why are you asking me a question, it’s not reasonable.”

(There is an explanation as to why Teng doesn’t have a lawyer, but the judge has ruled that it’s not relevant to the trial, so the jurors haven’t heard it, and therefore it can’t be reported either. And there’s a so-called friend of the court, Richard Litkowski, who questioned some witnesses and tried to help Teng, despite his strong objections).

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MacDonnell attempted to ask him for the fourth time if he intended to call any evidence, “Yes or no,” at which point Teng immediately snapped, “Are you trying to answer all my questions, yes or no?

“I didn’t say no,” he said. “I always say yes. I have witnesses to call; You canceled my witnesses.

Softly, the judge said: “I am obliged to say that this is not true.”

“I put down on paper last week {his proposed witnesses},” Teng said. “Why cancel?”

“You may sit down, Ms. Teng,” MacDonnell said.

“I’m not going to sit down!” Teng snapped. “I need to call witnesses, I have many witnesses to call. Why do you cancel? I need to call witnesses. You are biased! Who told you that they (the witnesses) are not available?

“I don’t trust you,” he said. “You are not trustworthy. You are a biased and evil judge! You make a lot of mistakes!”

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I repeat many times, you ask me many times… I have many witnesses to call, four witnesses, why are you asking me again?

At this point, the judge told the jurors that the only conclusion they could draw was that there was no defense evidence to call.

“You lost your jurisdiction!” Teng screeched.

“Thank you, Ms. Teng,” MacDonnell said.

“I’m not going to take your thanks!” she said, her voice seemingly permanently lodged in the same screeching tone.

MacDonnell told jurors that they cannot take Teng’s comments into account, surely a nice way of putting it.

“I have not responded to the complaints as to why she is in court without a lawyer,” he said. “It is not relevant”.

She then reminded the jurors that while there may be some things about the trial they don’t understand: “For our legal system to work, it’s critical that the law be taken away from me… Why doesn’t she have a lawyer? it is not relevant, and you should take my direction.”

He didn’t need to add: “Even if Ms. Teng doesn’t.”

With the evidence complete, the trial will resume with closing presentations on January 3.

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