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Stay ends "dark and desperate time" for client, says Neuberger

Joseph Neuberger


Toronto criminal lawyer Joseph Neuberger says the Crown’s decision to stay charges in the sensational case of his client Sandra Rinella – a dominatrix accused of plotting to kill her millionaire client’s wife – has given “closure to a dark and desperate time in her life.”

The Crown stayed charges of conspiracy to commit murder and counseling to commit murder that were laid against Rinella, 48, and Alex Petraitis, 69, that arose nearly eight years ago.Read Globe Story, Read Toronto Sun Story, Toronto Star, National Post

“In January of 2004, Sandra Rinella was charged with conspiracy to commit murder along with her client, Alex Petraitis. Over the ensuring eight years, Sandra Rinella has persevered through a lengthy preliminary inquiry and two failed trials, all the while she was battling cancer,” says Neuberger. 

“The most recent trial, from September to November of 2010, ended in a mistrial just before Ms. Rinella was going to go to the jury in a case that almost certainly would have resulted in her acquittal.”

Neuberger says, “It has always been Ms. Rinella’s position that the alleged conspiracy was nothing more than a drug-fueled role-play fantasy that, the main Crown witness, Robert Kerry Anderson took advantage of to extort money from Alex Petraitis.

“Serious credibility issues have always hampered the Crown’s case, as Mr. Anderson had admitted under oath that the alleged conspirators did not want anyone killed, and Mr. Anderson did not disclose the existence of other taped meetings, that were alleged to have been in existence and would have demonstrated Ms. Rinella’s innocence,” says Neuberger.

“Recent disclosure in a related investigation dealing with the alleged continued extortion of Alex Petraitis, had raised serious issues with respect to the involvement of Mr. Anderson in ongoing criminal activity that would have struck at the heart of his own evidence. Disclosure provided after the most recent mistrial, only served to fuel this issue, and this along with other difficulties with the prosecution’s case, has finally resulted in some closure for Ms. Rinella.

“Ms. Rinella’s life has changed dramatically since her arrest in 2004, as she now shares a quiet life with her mother living in a rural part of Ontario. She hopes that she can now move on from this ordeal and live a healthy and happy life,” says Neuberger.

But Neuberger adds: "The stay by the Crown is welcomed, but given two trials, both ending in mistrials and the issues of credibility with Mr Anderson, a withdrawal would have been the preferred result."




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