Thomas Chan's defence grills Crown witness over magic mushrooms

A defence lawyer sparred with a witness as the murder trial for 21-year-old Thomas Chan entered its third day in Superior Court.

Chan has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder of his father and attempted murder and aggravated assault of a woman.

He was arrested in the early morning hours of Dec. 28, 2015. Police responding to a domestic call on Haggis Drive and found the body of Thomas’s father, Dr. Andrew Chan, in his home. Officers also found Dr. Chan’s partner, Lynn Witteveen, in the house. She was rushed to hospital with life-threatening injuries.

Chan’s trial began on Monday.


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Previous witnesses have told court that nothing seemed amiss in the hours leading up to the incidents at the Haggis Drive home.

Chan had met up with several friends who were home for Christmas break. The group met at his mother’s house on Denure Drive, had a few drinks and then headed to St. Louis restaurant on Lansdowne Street to get something to eat and watch the Leafs’ game.

At some point in the night, some in the group, including Chan, decided to buy and consume psilocybin, more commonly known as magic mushrooms.

Wednesday’s witness told court he texted someone he knew who sold them, and picked them up. Under questioning from the Crown, the witness couldn’t say how much he bought. He had only requested enough for four people.

He also couldn’t say how much each person ate.

“It was enough to fill your hand for sure,” he said after some prompting from the Crown.

The group hung out on Denure Drive before driving to Crestwood High School and parking in the school’s lot. The witness said everyone seemed to be acting normally, and no one said they were really feeling the effects of the mushrooms.

They listened to music and walked around a bit before heading to Armour Hill, a lookout point in Peterborough. Everyone commented on how pretty the lights around the city were, he said.

“I remember that Tom got all emotional and said that he had figured everything out,” the witness said. He couldn’t elaborate on what Chan meant by that.


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The group eventually returned to Chan’s home. The witness said he and two others were planning on staying the night. Chan said goodnight, he testified, and the three of them began making their beds up in the basement.

He told court he went upstairs to get some blankets, and saw Chan standing near the stairway bannister on the second floor, staring down at them with his head tilted on an angle.

“I knew something wasn’t in the right,” the witness testified. “Something was wrong for sure.”

Concerned, he told court that he told the others something seemed amiss. At that point, Chan returned downstairs, he testified.

Chan kept asking everyone if they were feeling the same thing, the witness said. Unsure of what to do, they sat with him on the floor and give him some water.

Chan then began waving his hands in front of their faces, the witness said, using religious terms and speaking in jibberish.

“He said, ‘Watch this, I can make your hair change,'” the witness testified.

For a moment, Chan seemed to come to his senses. The witness said there was what seemed to be a five-second moment when Chan seemed to be sober, suddenly telling the group, “I’m scared.”

Chan then ran upstairs. The witness said they heard his mother yell a moment later, and when they ran upstairs, they saw Chan arguing with his mother and sister on the stairs.

Chan then suddenly turned and ran outside, the witness said.

The witness stayed behind while Chan’s mother and his other friends followed him outside. Court has previously heard that he ran to Haggis Drive, where his father Dr. Andrew Chan lived.

The witness testified that the group that initially chased Chan returned about five minutes later without him. At that point, he told court, he learned police had been called. He said police then called him on his cellphone and told him he wasn’t safe on Denure Drive. He and the group of friends staying at the Chan’s home decided to drive to the witness’s house.

Defence lawyer Dave McFadden hammered on the witness’s testimony, suggesting that he never saw the exchange between Chan and his family on the stairs, something the witness denied.

McFadden also suggested the witness was misleading the court when he said he didn’t know how many grams of mushrooms he was buying.

“What are the two most important things when you’re buying drugs?” McFadden asked. “One, the price. And two, how much.”

McFadden then turned his attention to what happened with the leftover mushrooms as the incident unfolded on Haggis Drive. The witness said he couldn’t remember what happened to the remaining psilocybin.

McFadden asked if it was possible if they tossed the bag out the window, fearing police involvement.

“It’s possible,” the witness said.

McFadden asked if anyone in the group talked about what they were going to say to police. The witness said they decided to tell them everything.

The lawyer also asked if the witness was worried because he was the one who bought the mushrooms.

“We didn’t know what happened yet, so I was feeling a lot of things,” the witness replied.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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