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Mr. Weaver was asked whether he thought there would have been any way to avoid this particular "beef":

When someone says there's going to be a beef, the word gets around and people tell other people and you are committed to it. If you don't follow through you're in trouble. Given what Allen had said to people in the hole, it was clear to him that he had no choice but to do the beef, because that's what other people expected of him. It would have been the wrong thing to say he was going to kill MacDonald and not do anything.

Under cross-examination, Mr. Weaver was asked the standard question about why he was giving evidence in the trial, and the standard suggestion was put forward that it was as a favour to Hughie MacDonald. His answer was emphatic.

As a favour? I'm telling these people [the jury] the truth. Sending a man to prison for twenty-five years for defending himself in a fight in which he could have been killed is not right. I'm obligated to be here to tell the truth.

The last prisoner called for the Defence was Dennis Smith, who at the time of the stabbing was vice-chair of the Inmate Committee. Since then he had left general population and checked into protective custody. He was the only PC to give evidence in the trial. Mr. Smith was forty-seven years old and serving a life sentence, with a minimum of twenty years before parole, imposed in 1985. He had a long previous record, and by his own estimate had spent about thirty days on the street in the last twenty-six years. He had no association with Hughie MacDonald before meeting him in the segregation unit in his capacity as a member of the Inmate Committee. However, he had heard of Mr. MacDonald over the years and his best friend spoke highly of the man. He therefore "took him at face value." Mr. Smith knew of Mr. Allen's reputation from having served time with him, and also through the prison grapevine. As he put it, "When you have the reputation as mean as his, word travels." He described Mr. Allen as "a large man with an attitude to go with it. He was an extremely violent man and I've seen him squeeze people for dope." Asked to explain what that "attitude" was, Mr. Smith replied, "Give it to me or I'll take it."

Mr. Smith testified that his most recent encounters with Mr. Allen had been in the segregation unit, in February 1994. Mr. Smith and Jean-Louis Tremblay saw Mr. Allen on one of their regular visits to the hole. Mr. Smith spoke to Mr. Allen through the food slot and they exchanged the usual formalities. Mr. Allen asked who was in Kent, and Mr. Smith rattled off a list of the people he knew who were Mr. Allen's associates or people he would have done time with. Mr. MacDonald's name came up and Mr. Allen responded, "He is dead." Mr. Smith explained, "Gary had that look about him. It's difficult to explain, but Gary gets a certain look about his face when he's serious."

After they left segregation, Mr. Smith and Mr. Tremblay talked about what Mr. Allen had said, because "when a prisoner like Gary Allen makes a statement like that you have to take it seriously." They agreed that Mr. MacDonald should be told about the threat, but for the time being they would not tell other prisoners. They felt if the word got out about what Mr. Allen had said, he would be obliged to carry through on the threat. As Mr. Smith expressed it, "Rumours fly faster than e-mail in prison."

Mr. Smith described what happened when he told MacDonald about what Gary Allen had said.

Hughie was in his housecoat in his cell. I told him that I'd got a message from Gary Allen and it was that Gary was going to kill him. Hughie told me to sit down and offered me a coffee. He had this look of surprise, perplexed. He told me that he had had a problem with Gary Allen in Edmonton ten years ago, but he didn't think that it warranted a statement like that. He asked me to talk to Gary the next time I was in the hole to tell him that Hughie didn't want any problem and that they should talk about it.

The next time Mr. Smith was in segregation he conveyed Mr. MacDonald's message, and Mr. Allen's response was simply, "It's done. Hughie dies; there is no getting around it."

Shortly afterwards Mr. Allen was released into the population. The first Mr. Smith knew of this was when he was leaving C unit and saw Mr. Allen standing in the courtyard. He immediately went to see Mr. Tremblay and had to wake him up. He told Mr. Tremblay that Mr. Allen was standing in the courtyard with his parka on. Mr. Smith explained that there are only two reasons a prisoner wears a parka in the courtyard: one is to keep the rain off, and the other is to conceal a weapon. Even though it had been raining, Mr. Smith had no doubt that the second reason was why Mr. Allen was wearing his parka that day. Mr. Smith watched as other prisoners went up to Mr. Allen, and then he made his approach. He asked whether there was anything that could be done to prevent the incident. Mr. Allen responded, "It's going to come to an end. I've got what it takes." Mr. Smith understood this to confirm that Mr. Allen had a weapon. He explained to the jury, "You have got to know Gary Allen to know what he's about. That look, that parka, you knew that he was armed and that he was serious."

Mr. Smith went on to describe how he and Mr. Tremblay had gone into the dining room to tell Mr. MacDonald that Mr. Allen was waiting in the courtyard for him. Mr. Smith told him, "There's no time to talk. He's going to kill you. You had better get armed up, otherwise you're going to die." Mr. Smith described the expression on Mr. MacDonald's face at this point: "It's difficult to explain but it was a look of a man who stood between a rock and a hard place through no fault of his own." Mr. Smith said that he and Mr. Tremblay went back into the courtyard and made one last-ditch effort to dissuade Mr. Allen. Mr. Allen said, "It's done."

Mr. Smith went back to C unit and up the stairs into the Inmate Committee room. He heard the doors slamming shut. He remembered that moment well because he turned around and looked at Mr. Tremblay, thinking, "Hughie is either dead or is dying."

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