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No defence called in trial for woman charged in death of Maple Ridge teen

Julie Raymond, Shannon
Julie Raymond, Shannon's mother, speaks to reporters outside New Westminster Supreme Court on Monday.
— image credit: Monisha Martins/The News

No witnesses will be called in defence of a woman accused of failing to seek help for a Maple Ridge teen who died two years ago after combining alcohol and ecstasy.

David Milburn, who represents Victoria Turley, told Justice Sunni Stromberg-Stein that the Crown has failed to prove its case.

"No witnesses will be called and a defence will not be called," said Milburn.

Sixteen-year-old Shannon Raymond was found dead at 6 a.m. on July 26, 2008 at Turley’s former home on 119th Avenue in Maple Ridge.

The teen and her friends, including Turley's son Spencer, had attended a birthday celebration on a party bus the night before, when Shannon took two ecstasy pills and drank alcohol.

A trial, which began last week, heard that Shannon was unresponsive for several hours before Turley called 911. Adults who were at Turley's home believed the teen was intoxicated and would be better in the morning.

The teen and her friends, including Turley’s son Spencer, had attended a birthday celebration on a party bus the night before, when Shannon took two ecstasy pills and drank alcohol.

A trial, which began last week, heard that Shannon was unresponsive for several hours before Turley called 911. Adults who were at Turley’s home believed the teen was intoxicated and would be better in the morning.

Turley faces one count of failure to provide the necessities of life in connection with the death of Shannon – a charge laid under a rarely used section of the Canadian Criminal Code.

Police allege Shannon was in the care of the accused and was in medical distress, which Turley failed to address.

Crown prosecutor Jay Fogle said if Turley had called for an ambulance earlier, Shannon would likely have survived.

Outside court, Shannon’s mother, Julie Raymond, was disappointed Crown had concluded its case without calling all the evidence she heard last year during a preliminary inquiry.

“We know there is a lot more … than what’s being said in court. This is the first case of its kind in Canada resulting in death, so the judge is particularly cautious in making some rulings against Crown counsel and more in favour of the defence.”

Raymond believes there is enough evidence to prove the charge against Turley.

“I know with 100 per cent certainty any human would have called 911 for my daughter,” said Raymond.

Crown tried to introduced a medical report about Turley’s teenage son as evidence during the trial on Monday, but his request was denied.

The medical report detailed how Turley’s son Spencer was treated in hospital following acute alcohol intoxication.

Seven months before Shannon died, friends of Turley’s son called 911 when he passed out after consuming too much alcohol.

Fogle said it showed Turley was aware of the resources available to help someone in Shannon’s condition.

Justice Stromberg-Stein disagreed, saying the medical report was evidence that was irrelevant to the case at hand and prejudicial.

Other witnesses who testified Monday, including P.J. Grant and Justin Seath, had trouble recalling the events on the night of Shannon’s death.

Justice Stromberg-Stein will rule on the case March 2.

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