Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Bruce Riley's Cow

From the PEI Guardian "Covers the Island Like the Dew", 1973
Brian Collins, 1980
SUMMERSIDE -- Bennett Nicholas Bulger of Clermont and Reginald Joseph Arsenault of Kenningston, two of the three men charged with stealing Bruce Riley's cow took the witness stand in their own defense here Wednesday. Both laid the entire blame for the offence with Fred MacDonald of Darnley who has left the province and can't be found.

Mr. Bulger, first on the stand, denied knowing the cow was stolen until RCMP came searching Aug. 3 , the date of the alleged offense. He claimed that he and Mr. Mann were helping Mr. MacDonald move and butcher the animal because he told them that a farmer had given them the animal to "clean up".

The third accused, Bruce Allison Mann of Malpeque is scheduled to testify today as the final defense witness in the supreme court trial being heard by Justice Arthur Peake.

Recalling the events of that day, Mr. Bulger said he, the other accuseds, Mr. MacDonald and a fifth man, had been drinking all night and into the morning at his home. He said Mr. MacDonald left in Mr. Arsenault's truck sometime early morning while he and others went to pull Mr. Mann's car from a ditch. When they got together again he and Mr. MacDonald drove in Mr. Arsenault's truck to where the cow lay outside a pasture gate. Mr. Bulger said he accompanied Mr. MacDonald because he told him he had a job for him, "a trained butcher".

When they reached the field they tried lifting the animal into the truck, couldn't and went back to get Mr. Mann and a knife. The three of them couldn't move it either, so, even though he wanted to butcher it where it lay, Mr. Bulger and Mr. Mann tied a cable around its neck and hauled it behind the truck the eight miles back to his home, despite objections from him and Mr. Mann who thought it was being moved only to a better spot to begin work on the carcass.

The accused said he skinned, gutted and cut the legs off the cow at his place, then Mr. MacDonald took the rest of the carcass someplace after finishing the job. He denied knowing a chainsaw was used to cut the carcass in half, claiming he was in the house while it was being used.

Referring to earlier testimony by Mildred Champion of Summerside, who purchased about 40 pounds of meat from he and Mr. Mann and another person he claimed was Mr. MacDonald, Mr. Bulger said they went to Champion's because Mr. Champion had three dogs and hoped he would buy the meat for them.

He at first denied they ever intended to sell it for human consumption, but later admitted they had tried to sell it to someone else earlier that day to eat and the possibility of selling it to a restaurant near Champion's was mentioned. He said the only payment he received for his services was two cases of beer and never returned to Champion's to collect four dollars owing on the deal because he learned it was a stolen cow.

He accused two earlier witnesses, Tony Jalshcule and David Ducette, of lying when they identified Mr. Arsenault as the driver of the truck which passed them that day dragging a cow behind. He also claimed that he didn't try to hide some remnants of the carcass from RCMP when they searched his property that evening because he had done nothing wrong. He admitted to wanting the hide and some other parts removed but only because they attracted flies.

Mr. Arsenault's defense was very simple. He claimed while most of the incidents recalled by others were happening he was either asleep in Bulger's house or somewhere he can't recall. He suggested, however, that the reason his memory may not be good is because he didn't know at the time that he would be testifying in court about the events of that day.

Under questioning by Crown prosecutor David Hammond, he did admit there was a possibility he was standing with the other four men around the body of an animal in Benny Bulger's yard that morning, as testified to by a mail driver, John L. Bernard, and his son-in-law helper David Lorne Moase.

However, he still denied knowledge of anything about the cow, ever seeing it or knowing it was butchered and the meat sold, he denied being the driver of the truck seen dragging the cow.

Earlier in the day David Reginald Murphy of Irishtown Road and Grant Edward Andrews of Spring Valley, drilling a well at Mr. Jalschule's that morning, said they saw the truck pass them and later return with the cow. Mr. Murphy said one of the three occupants looked like Mr. Mann. Mr. Andrews identified Mr. Arsenault as the driver and Mr. Bulger as one passenger he could see. They followed the tracks left by the animal to the pasture, then retraced them back to a point near Benny Bulger's house.

The trial continues.