THUNDER BAY - Details of the videos contained on a USB drive that was at the centre of a meeting between former Thunder Bay mayor Keith Hobbs and Craig Loverin in a grocery store parking lot were revealed to the court.
Day 3 of the extortion trial against Keith Hobbs, his wife Marisa Hobbs, and local resident Mary Voss continued on Wednesday, with the court being shown six videos that were on the USB drive given to Loverin by Hobbs in November 2016.
The disturbing videos depict the victim at the centre of the case acting erratically, using abusive, vulgar, and offensive language, and appearing to be physically violent.
Keith and Marisa Hobbs and Voss are alleged to have attempted to coerce the victim into purchasing a house for Voss by threatening to release evidence of criminal behavior.
The court also heard testimony from the Crown’s second witness, Staff Sgt. Ron Maki, with the community service branch in the Thunder Bay Police Service, who spoke with Keith Hobbs about the content of the videos.
Maki testified that on Nov. 19, 2016, he was advised that Hobbs had contacted Thunder Bay Police Service, skipping the uniform patrol branch, which is normally the first point of contact.
According to Maki, he spoke with Hobbs and then attended his residence where he, Marisa Hobbs, and Voss were present.
Maki said he was told about possible criminal allegations involving the victim.
“We were shown some videos that were captured on laptop,” Maki testified. “We were there for an hour and a half, maybe two hours. We didn’t watch all of the videos, but bits and pieces of it.”
Two USB drives containing the videos were then given to Maki, as well as a real estate contract drafted by Hobbs for the victim.
Keith and Marisa Hobbs then agreed to attend the Thunder Bay Police Service station to give a video interview.
Maki is expected to continue his testimony this afternoon followed by testimony by the victim.
The first Crown witness, Craig Loverin, also concluded his testimony on Wednesday morning.
George Joseph, counsel for Voss, concluded his cross-examination of Loverin by questioning him about his relationship with the victim and what he thought about the allegations against the victim.
Joseph referenced text messages from Voss that mentioned the allegations against the victim, how she was looking for help, and how Loverin reacted to them.
“The only explanation I can think of why you didn’t do anything because you didn’t believe her,” Joseph asked.
“Yes, I didn’t believe her,” Loverin said.
“Isn’t the rationale you didn’t say anything because you didn’t believe your friend would do those things?” Joseph asked.
Loverin said that it was during the text messages that he did not believe Voss and he helped her a few days later.
“What precipitated you to talk to the police is you thought your friend and benefactor was being mistreated,” Joseph asked.
“There were a few things going on and that was one of them,” Loverin replied.
The alleged victim of extortion was also called to testify Wednesday afternoon as the Crown’s third witness.
During questioning, Crown attorney Peter Keen, asked the victim to provide details of his relationships with Voss, Loverin, as well as his problems with alcohol.
According to his testimony, the victim said his alcohol abuse increased significantly following a traumatic event.
“I would say within a day or so,” the victim testified. “But it increases in my books monumentally because I don’t think in my entire life I had ever drank a full 26 ounces of hard liquor in one sitting. But after that I did. I did it for days on end.”
The victim also recounted his relationship with Loverin, which he described as particularly close.
“I have a very high degree in trust in Craig Lovrein,” the victim said.
As for Voss, the victim testified he met her in 2013 and described the relationship as very close and supportive.
The victim appeared very confident on the witness stand and was often reminded by Keen that it wasn’t necessary to provide so much background information when providing answers, which was at times ignored.
The victim will continue his testimony on Thursday.