Ottawa prosecutor was on soccer team with key juror during murder trial

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In a striking revelation, an Ottawa prosecutor played on the same soccer team with the jury foreperson during a murder trial in September.


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In fact, just hours after the Crown’s closing address on Sept. 23, assistant Crown Attorney Stephen Lichti and the foreperson played a game on the same team in Carleton University’s adult league, according to a summary of events filed at a pre-sentencing hearing last week.

It wasn’t just any soccer team, rather one mostly composed of young assistant Crown Attorneys and others who work in their Elgin Street office. The foreperson is a friend of another prosecutor and was invited to join the Crown team when they didn’t have enough players.

Lawyers are not permitted to contact jury members who sit on their trials, as per the Law Society of Ontario’s rules of professional conduct. In fact, judges can declare a mistrial if they believe a juror has been exposed to outside information that could reasonably influence the jury’s verdict.


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At the Sept. 23 game, Lichti thought his teammate looked like the jury foreperson, but dismissed the notion as too unlikely. The prosecutor didn’t talk to his teammate that night, according to the summary of events.

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The jury foreperson also mentioned to another teammate, assistant Crown Attorney Emilie Farrell, that Lichti looked like the prosecutor on the case the foreperson was involved in. Farrell told the juror it was best not to speak or interact with him until there was a verdict, according to the summary of events.

Four days later, Ontario Superior Court Justice Kevin Phillips gave his charge to the jury.

The jury came back two days later, on Sept. 29, with a guilty verdict in the case against Martin Frampton. Frampton had learned that his best friend was a child-sex predator, so he hit him over the head twice with a hammer and threw him off the 21st floor of their Donald Street apartment building. Kenneth Ammaklak plunged to his death on May 14, 2019.


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The day after the guilty verdict, Lichti and the juror played another game, and this time they spoke.

The juror asked the prosecutor how the trial went, and he said, “Fine,” according to the summary of events.

Days later, on Oct. 6, Lichti was talking to another prosecutor — also on the soccer team — about an unrelated case, and they mentioned to him that their teammate was on the same team.

Lichti advised his co-counsel John Semenoff about the “situation” on the same date, Oct. 6.

Eight days later, on Oct. 14, Lichti advised Deputy Crown Attorney Dallas Mack of the “situation”, and Mack in turn advised Crown Attorney Brian Holowka.

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Assistant Crown Attorneys Lichti, Farrell and Devin Harm — the prosecutor who sent out an email to younger staff about forming the soccer team — were asked to document their version of events.


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That night — Oct. 14 — there was another game scheduled, and Crown Attorney Holowka asked the juror not to attend the game or any other game until further notice.

The juror didn’t go to the game, and she replied: “To be transparent, I was not aware of the overlap when I was selected for the trial, and had no communication with anyone involved in the trial until after the verdict was rendered,” according to the the summary of events.

It should be noted that the juror emailed the Crown’s soccer team organizer, saying she’d been selected for jury duty and may not be able to make some games because of scheduling.

Then, a day later, on Oct. 15, Frampton’s lawyers, James and Rob Harbic, were advised.

Frampton’s legal team is not seeking a mistrial in light of the prosecutor-juror connection. He was on trial for first-degree murder, but was found guilty of the lesser second-degree charge, so he’s not rolling the dice on a do-over.

Frampton is still awaiting sentencing.

The Ministry of the Attorney General declined to comment on this story.

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