Former pastor found guilty of manslaughter on death of pregnant wife


Paola Loriggio, the Canadian Press

Published Thursday, February 28, 2019 3:46 PM EST

Last Updated Thursday, February 28, 2019 17:41 EST

TORONTO – A former Toronto pastor accused of secretly sedating his pregnant wife before she drowned in the tub was found guilty of manslaughter Thursday, her second conviction in a case that lasted more than seven years.

The jurors condemned Philip Grandine after deliberating for just over a day. The man, who was released for more than six years while the case was going through the judicial system, looked ahead when the verdict was read.

Prosecutors alleged that Grandine drugged his wife with the anti-anxiety medication lorazepam, better known as Ativan, so she would not be as vigilant as he would continue an affair with her friend.

The Crown claimed that it did not prevent Anna Karissa Grandine from entering a bath in her disabled state one night in October 2011.

Anna Grandine, who passed Karissa, was 20 weeks pregnant when she died. Tests later revealed that she had lorazepam in her blood, although the medication had never been prescribed.

Defense lawyers argued that she herself took the medication and slipped into the tub, hit her head and drowned, or took her own life.

His family attended the court for much of the trial, but was not present for the verdict. Toronto police detective. Sgt. Terry Browne, the principal investigator on the case, said he shared the news with his mother and sister.

"Obviously not a day goes by that they do not think about their daughter, their sister, and of course, we know, the fetus," Browne said out of court. "They are obviously relieved by the result of this, it has been a long time for them. .

"It has been very, very stressful for everyone involved, but they are consoled that the end result has arrived today."

Family members will have a chance to tell the court how Anna Grandine's death affected them during a sentencing hearing scheduled to begin on April 15. The husband will remain free on bail under conditions until he is sentenced.

Philip Grandine had already been tried for first-degree murder on his wife's death and was found guilty of manslaughter. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

The conviction was overturned after Ontario's highest court found that the investigating judge had made a mistake in answering a jury question. A new trial was ordered on the manslaughter charge, which meant prosecutors could no longer argue that Grandine intended to kill his wife.

In the most recent trial, High Court Judge Faye McWatt said that in order to return a guilty verdict, jurors must find that Philip Grandine's actions contributed significantly to the wife's death, even if they were not the sole or principal cause .

McWatt said that Grandine could be found guilty of manslaughter if the jury believed that he or she administered Ativan – a controlled substance under the law – to his wife or provided to her. Both could be considered criminal acts: administering a harmful substance or trafficking a controlled substance, respectively, she said.

Jurors could also hold him guilty if they found out he committed criminal negligence by failing to protect Anna Grandine from harm knowing that she was under the influence of medication, the judge said.

Prosecutors said Philip Grandine had access to Ativan through his work as a nursing manager in an elderly home. They also pointed to research on the couple's computer on how to get the drug and what would be considered a fatal dose.

The Crown claimed that Grandine was behind the searches, noting that some occurred more or less at the same time that you are looking for escorts and other topics related to sex. Prosecutors also said that lorazepam was not a drug that should be used by pregnant women and Anna Grandine was conscientious about her baby's health.

The defense argued that it was Anna Grandine who sought lorazepam, suggesting that she tried to self-medicate in the light of the unrest in her life.

Court heard Philip Grandine left the post of pastor after it came to light that he was having an affair with a parishioner, who was also his wife's friend. The congregation, of which Anna Grandine belonged, was also informed of the case, heard the court.

Another pastor agreed to give them marriage counseling if Philip Grandine stopped betraying and desisted from pornography, conditions that the couple accepted, the court heard.

But Grandine quickly resumed the case and, over time, his wife became suspicious, and even questioned him at a counseling session in early October, the court said.

Then, in mid-October, Anna Grandine suddenly felt dizzy, fatigued, and other symptoms, prompting her husband to take her to the hospital. His sister said that Anna Grandine was afraid; Her mother testified that the 29-year-old man asked her husband if he had given her a pill, which he denied.

Three days later Anna Grandine died. The court heard forensic pathologists conduct toxicological tests and detected Ativan in their system, then checked the samples collected during their visit to the hospital where they also found the drug.

The trial heard Grandine told police he was out and ran to find his wife unresponsive in the tub.


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