Trial of Winnipeg man accused of sending letter bombs hears about 'big blast'

Trial of Winnipeg man accused of sending letter bombs hears about 'big blast'

WINNIPEG — A forensic chemist has testified that an explosive substance which can be made from household ingredients was found at three locations where a Winnipeg man is accused of sending letter bombs.

Nigel Hearns was on the stand Monday at the trial of Guido Amsel, who is charged with attempted murder and other counts

Amsel is accused of sending letter bombs to his ex-wife and two Winnipeg law offices, including one where a device exploded in July 2015 and left a lawyer with permanent injuries.

Hearns told the court that triacetone triperoxide, known as TATP, is an explosive encountered in acts of international terrorism and was the only substance found at the three scenes.

Under cross-examination, the defence pointed out that Hearns did not perform a chemical comparison to say if it was the same mixture.

Amsel has pleaded not guilty to all charges at his judge-alone trial.

The court heard one of the devices was a voice recorder sent to the office of Maria Mitousis, the lawyer who had represented Iris Amsel in civil proceedings involving her ex-husband.

Mitousis suffered injuries that resulted in the loss of her right hand.

Another one in the form of an electronic greeting card was allegedly sent to the second law firm, while the third was delivered to an autobody shop with the name of Amsel’s ex-wife, Iris, on it.

Hearns testified that TATP is a “high-results explosive.”

He said he studied fragments from each of the scenes and said the way material had been damaged showed characteristics of an explosion.

Under questioning from the Crown, Hearns said an explosion at Iris Amsel’s home in the community of St. Clements, north of Winnipeg, must have been a “big blast” because of what he called “significant pressure.”

He said that while TATP was detected, the residue could not be confirmed, which he noted can be possible because it can dissipate and must be preserved quickly.

The trial has previously heard the Amsels had been in a bitter divorce battle that dragged on for years. A lawsuit had been launched over the autobody shop they co-owned.

The acrimony appeared to end in the weeks leading up to the explosion. Court documents show Amsel agreed to pay his ex-wife $40,000 and to sell equipment from the business. The auction was slated for eight days after the explosion. (CTV Winnipeg, The Canadian Press)

Published at Tue, 05 Dec 2017 10:17:56 -0500