A murder preliminary hearing for two men started well enough Monday before it took a strange twist for one of them.
Crown prosecutor Anders Quist opened the provincial court proceeding by staying first-degree and accessory after the fact to murder charges against Charles Richard Beckett.
A new information was prepared with the idea of moving Beckett’s new charge of being an accessory after the fact to murder, to another provincial court with the consent of Beckett’s lawyer Arnold Piragoff. However, that court couldn’t accept the plea to the new charge because it doesn’t have jurisdiction under the Criminal Code, Quist said outside court.
A stay means a charge is held in limbo for a set period or forever. Beckett, 49, and Larry Allen Scott, 53, both of Red Deer were charged after the body of Sheldon Mark Hiller, 46, of Red Deer was found in a ditch April 17, 2008, near Raven by a passerby.
Brent William Crouse, 44, of Calgary is also charged with first-degree murder and being an accessory after the fact to murder. His preliminary is set for June 25-27 and June 30-31 in provincial court.
A preliminary is held to determine if there’s enough evidence to warrant an accused being tried in Court of Queen’s Bench.
A publication ban on the preliminary facts was issued by Judge David Plosz for Scott’s preliminary which is expected to last all week with numerous witnesses.
Quist said later the new information against Beckett will be brought before a Queen’s Bench justice today.
Quist said later the murder charge against Beckett was stayed because the Crown didn’t have sufficient evidence to proceed. “It was carefully considered and assessed,” Quist said.
He said it remains to be seen if Beckett will be called as a witness against Scott and Crouse. All three accused remain in custody and have been since their arrests shortly after the murder.
The cause of death wasn’t released by police.