THUNDER BAY – After nearly four years, the legal saga involving former Thunder Bay Mayor Keith Hobbs, his wife Marisa Hobbs, and Mary Voss will conclude today as a judge is expected to render a verdict on the extortion charges against the three accused.
Justice Fletcher Dawson will hand down his verdict in a Thunder Bay Courtroom Thursday morning following a 15-day trial that opened on Nov. 18, 2019.
The trial centered around allegations that in October and November 2016, Keith and Marisa Hobbs used threats of turning over incriminating evidence to police against the alleged victim unless he purchased a $429,000 home for Voss.
The Ontario Provincial Police charged Keith and Marisa Hobbs in July 2017 with extortion and obstruction of justice. However, the Crown announced in September 2018 that it would not be proceeding on the charge of obstruction of justice. Voss was also charged with extortion in July 2017.
During the trial, Crown attorney, Peter Keen, argued Keith and Marisa Hobbs were the principal parties behind the extortion attempts against the alleged victim, while Brian Greenspan, who was representing the Hobbs’, said it was the alleged victim who was exerting control over Voss in order to ‘buy her silence.’
George Joseph, who is representing Voss, said his client was under the control of the alleged victim and was fearful of going to police because of experiences with authorities in her home country of Ghana.
The court heard from 11 Crown witnesses, including the alleged victim, while the defense called only two witnesses, with Keith Hobbs testifying in his own defense.
At the centre of the trial were videos showing the alleged victim behaving erratically and using offensive and vulgar language. Keen argued that Keith Hobbs came into possession of these videos and used them to coerce the alleged victim into purchasing a house for Voss.
Craig Loverin testified that Keith Hobbs gave the videos to him on a USB drive and told him to show the videos to the alleged victim.
The drafting of an agreement by Keith Hobbs referring to the purchase of a house and rendering the alleged victim harmless was also detailed, though Hobbs testified he only did so because he was asked to by the alleged victim.
Hobbs maintained throughout his testimony that he always intended to go to police with the videos and he only had the interests of Voss in mind.
The court was also shown videotaped interviews of the three accused, who all became visibly upset and angry when told about the extortion allegations against them.
A publication ban was in place to protect the identity of the alleged victim.
Complete coverage of Hobbs trial:
Day 1: Keith Hobbs trial starts today
Witness testifies of interactions between Hobbs and alleged extortion victim
Day 2: Details of extortion allegations heard at Hobbs trial
Day 3: Videos from USB drive given by Hobbs shown in court
Day 4: Alleged extortion victim calls behaviour in videos horrid and awful