National Newswatch

TORONTO — A former pastor who was carrying out an illicit affair knew his pregnant wife was sedated but did nothing to stop her from getting into the bathtub where she drowned, prosecutors told his trial Friday.

Philip Grandine, 32, may have administered the sedative lorazepam to his wife or made it available to her, or he may simply have known she was under the drug’s influence and failed to protect her from danger, but in any case he is guilty of manslaughter, Crown attorneys said in an opening statement.

Grandine wanted to prolong his affair and "to be able to continue to engage in whatever activities he wanted to," such as watching online pornography, which he had been prohibited from doing as part of his marriage counselling, prosecutor Donna Kellway said.

He also had easy access to lorazepam, better know under the brand name Ativan, through his job as a nurse manager at a seniors' home, where he was tasked with distributing medication and disposing of any excess drugs, she said.

Anna Karissa Grandine, 29, was 20 weeks pregnant when she was found in the bathtub of the couple's bungalow on Oct. 17, 2011.

It's the second time Philip Grandine has been tried in his wife's death but Ontario Superior Court Justice Faye McWatt told jurors not to speculate as to the reason for the new trial. Grandine has pleaded not guilty.

Court heard that in the weeks before his wife's death, Grandine had been forced to step down as pastor at a Baptist church in northwest Toronto as a result of his affair with a parishioner, who was also his wife's friend.

Kellway said the affair continued, however, even as the couple underwent marriage counselling and, later, after his wife's death.

One of the conditions of the marriage counselling was that Grandine abstain from consuming pornography, so his wife installed a filtering program on their computer to block such sites, she said.

The program was uninstalled shortly before Grandine called 911 to report that he had found his wife underwater in the bathtub, the Crown said.

The computer was later analyzed by police, who found someone had used it to search "would 100 mg of Ativan be fatal?" and "would you die from 100 mg of lorazepam?," Kellway said. Searches for escorts and body rub parlours were also conducted, she said.

Lorazepam is a sedative that can cause drowsiness, reduced muscle control and impaired memory, among other things, court heard.

It had never been prescribed to Anna Karissa Grandine, but toxicology tests found the drug in her system during an autopsy and in blood samples taken three days before her death, when she had gone to the hospital after feeling disoriented and fatigued.

The doctor who performed her autopsy also found a bump on her head that appeared to have occurred around the time of her death, the Crown said.

While the injury would not have been fatal, it could have contributed to her drowning, as could the lorazepam, Kellway said.

Court heard the phones belonging to Philip Grandine and his mistress exchanged thousands of calls and text messages in the months leading up to Anna Karissa Grandine’s death.

On the day she drowned, the two phones exchanged close to 300 texts between 6 a.m. and 5 p.m., Kellway said.

Less than an hour before he made the call to 911, Philip Grandine's phone called his mistress' phone, which replied with a text, the Crown said. Two minutes later, his phone called hers — a call that lasted 26 minutes, she said.

Court heard Philip Grandine called 911 at 10:49 p.m, saying he had been out running and returned to find his wife not breathing in the bath.

On the call, which was played in court Friday, the operator asked Grandine if he had drained the tub or taken his wife out of the water. He said no.

The operator instructed him to lift his wife out of the tub and place her on the floor on her left side. There was splashing and heavy breathing, then Grandine said he was unsuccessful.

"I can't do it," he said. "It's too heavy, she's too slippery."

A police officer whose testimony from the previous trial was read in court said he found Anna Karissa Grandine in the tub with her head by the faucet.

The couple's family doctor, whose previous testimony was also read Friday, said Philip Grandine had expressed some doubts about his marriage.

"He said he wasn't sure if his wife would've been his first choice if he had to do it again," Dr. Irving Gora testified.

The trial is expected to span four to five weeks.

Paola Loriggio , The Canadian Press

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