Manslaughter trial of Portland man delayed as hospital refuses to release information

Posted May 16, 2012, at 9:53 a.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — The manslaughter trial of a Portland man has been delayed while a city hospital fights the trial judge’s order to disclose information related to the victim’s death.

Opening statements in the trial of Ernest Weidul, 52, were scheduled for Tuesday, but Mercy Hospital is appealing to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.

Weidul is charged with manslaughter in the May 2010 death of 46-year-old Roger Downs Jr.

Downs died at Mercy, two days after prosecutors allege Weidul beat him during a night of drinking.

The Portland Press Herald reports that Weidul’s lawyers say Downs died from pneumonia.

Downs did have pneumonia, but the hospital did not treat him for it. The hospital is arguing to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court that information related to Mercy’s reviews of Downs’ death should remain confidential.

Weidul’s criminal history includes being arrested after allegedly trying to gain access to an OccupyMaine tent and threatening the tent’s occupant in the process, according to BDN archives.

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