Convicted Killer Refuses to Help Prosecution,
Charged With Contempt of Court
A P Kamath
God and Warren Glowatski -- and perhaps Kelly Ellard -- are the only beings who know exactly how Reena Virk was killed on November 14 in 1997 outside the city of Victoria in British Columbia.
Glowatski was sentenced last year for his role in the death of 14-year-old Reena. He had, then, in excruciating detail testified in the court how Ellard, now 17, had held Reena's head under the gorge till she drowned.
Ellard, who is the last of the eight people connected with the murder to be tried, has denied the allegation.
The prosecutors had hoped that Glowatski would testify in the Ellard trial, but he has refused several times. The court would not allow the prosecution play the tape from Glowatski's testimony last year. And Glowatski, according to his friends and family, does not want to testify again because he fears that inmates of the prison will kill him. Glowatski, 17, serves a life sentence in a prison. He has also told the court he feels his life will be in trouble if he testified.
But when he appeared in court on Thursday without a lawyer, Judge Nancy Morrison got so upset that she held him in contempt of court and ordered a trial on that count in a few days.
Glowatski was cited on Thursday for contempt of court for refusing to testify at the trial of Kelly Ellard, who was charged like him with second-degree murder in Virk's death.
Glowatski, dressed in a T-shirt and blue jeans, told the judge he was unable to arrange for a lawyer in time.
''I tried to phone (my lawyer) last night but I never got hold of him,'' Glowatski, 18, who is appealing the verdict against him, said.
''I won't hear this matter until I'm satisfied you have counsel,'' the judge said.
He has twice appeared at Ellard's trial and refused to testify. But the jury was not present on both occasions.
The first time he appeared, he told the court he was appealing his conviction and it was not in his best interest to testify.
At his second appearance he refused to pick up a Bible and take an oath.
''I refuse to testify,'' he said. ''Being called here has put my life in jeopardy.''
Last year, he admitted under oath that he and Ellard followed Virk after she was teased and beaten up. In all eight teenagers who did not like Reena for a variety of reasons took part in the beating.
It was the second beating, which according to him involved Ellard, that was crucial. He said Ellard smashed Reena's head against a tree and gave a karate-chop to Reena's throat.
Ellard asked him to help her drag the girl to the water, he said.
'I stood up and I told (her) to stop, leave her alone, and (she) kept dragging her,' Glowatski said in his testimony last year. 'I told her to stop again and she kept dragging her into the water.'
Glowatski said he walked away and as he looked back he saw Ellard in the water with Virk.
''I should have stopped it,'' Glowatski said with tears in his eyes. ''I didn't know she was going to die.''
Several others, including those convicted in the beating of Reena, had told the court last week that Ellard had boasted of dealing the final blow to Reena. She has denied the accusation.
Ellard's trial wrapped up Wednesday and the jury was deliberating its verdict. Her lawyer Adrian Brook has suggested that Glowatski and others who testified against Ellard are putting the blame on her. She told the court last week that she never did any of the things she is charged with him. On the other hand, she swore, she tried to chase away others who were attacking Reena. Her lawyer also suggested that Glowatski and at least two girls were responsible for Reena's murder.
The jury is expected to hand over the verdict within the next few days.
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