Joseph James Landry guilty of manslaughter in ‘murder for lobster’ case

Joseph James Landry has been found guilty of manslaughter by a jury in the “murder for lobster” trial.

Landry, 67, was charged in the death of Phillip Boudreau, 43, from Petit-de-Grat who disappeared after a confrontation on the water in 2013.

Landry, who was found not guilty of second-degree murder, is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 29. He remains in custody.

A jury delivered the verdict late Saturday afternoon.

Crown prosecutor Shane Russell said outside court that Boudreau’s family was disappointed the jury didn’t convict Landry of the more serious offence.

Phillip Boudreau's boat

RCMP civilian firearms expert Joseph Prendergast testified that Boudreau’s boat was shot at from different angles. (Wendy Martin/CBC)

“They heard a lot of gruesome details about what the Crown presented,” Russell said. “To find a verdict of not guilty on second degree murder …obviously they’re upset.”

Defence lawyer Luke Craggs said the Crown had failed to prove Landry intended to kill Boudreau, calling the verdict a victory for his client.

“We can infer from the verdict that the jury said that though maybe he said he wanted to kill him, the actual physical action that caused the death of Philip Boudreau wasn’t an intentional act by James Landry,” he said.

On Thursday, Craggs told jurors that all four shots hit the boat and Landry simply wanted to scare Boudreau.

The five men and seven women jurors began deliberations on Friday afternoon, after Supreme Court Chief Justice Joseph Kennedy outlined their duties. Kennedy said there were three possible verdicts: guilty of second-degree murder, guilty of manslaughter or not guilty.

Jurors were back in court Saturday morning to seek clarification on a number of issues, including the definition of second-degree murder.

Kennedy said there was “no question there were unlawful acts” committed, but the question is whether those acts caused Boudreau’s death and what the intent of the acts was, the CBC’s Wendy Martin reported.

‘Let the crabs eat him’

Landry, a crew member on the lobster boat Twin Maggies, had pleaded not guilty in a case the Crown has called a “murder for lobster.”

Crown prosecutor Shane Russell said Landry told police he had been pushed to the limit, and wanted to “cripple” and “destroy” Boudreau, who he suspected was cutting his traps, and if he got the chance he would “let the crabs eat him.”

During the trial, co-prosecutor Steve Drake said the Twin Maggies rammed Boudreau’s boat three times at the mouth of Petit de Grat harbour on June 1, 2013. Prosecutors also said Landry fired four shots from a rifle, one of which hit Boudreau in the leg.

Drake told the court that Boudreau’s boat overturned after it was rammed the third time and he was then hooked with a fishing gaff and dragged out to sea before he was tied to an anchor.

Boudreau’s body has not been found.

In a recorded interview with police, Landry said he fired four shots at Boudreau’s boat and then told the captain of the Twin Maggies to ram the vessel.

Dwayne Matthew Samson, the captain of the Twin Maggies, is also charged with second-degree murder.

Samson’s wife Carla, owner of the lobster boat and Landry’s daughter, faces a charge of accessory after the fact.

Craig Landry, a third cousin of Joseph James Landry, is charged with accessory after the fact.


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