Defence working to resolve case without a trial for Red Deer County woman accused of killing husband

Robin Berresford accused of manslaughter in death of Matthew Berresford on Feb. 27, 2019

The lawyer for a Red Deer-area woman accused of shooting and killing her husband is trying to resolve the case without going to trial.

Robin Berresford was charged with first-degree murder after RCMP responded to a call last Feb. 27 to the Balmoral Heights home she shared with her husband, Matthew Berresford, and their two children.

When police arrived at the house in a rural subdivision just east of Red Deer, they found her husband dead.

Following a preliminary hearing last month, Berresford was ordered to stand trial on the lesser charge of manslaughter with a firearm.

The case was in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench on Monday to set a date for her two-week trial before a judge and jury.

Chief Crown prosecutor Dominique Mathurin said she understood that Berresford’s Edmonton lawyer, Mona Duckett, had requested the case be adjourned to Jan. 6, 2020, because resolution discussions were underway with the Crown prosecutor assigned to Berresford’s case.

However, Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Marilyn Slawinsky was reluctant to delay setting a trial date any longer because of the difficulty of finding the necessary two weeks within the 30-month deadline imposed by the Supreme Court of Canada, in a 2016 ruling known as the Jordan decision.

Red Deer’s court co-ordinator had already said the earliest two-week trial slot open in Red Deer was May 10 to 21, 2021, which was only about two months short of the deadline.

“I’m not sure we should be putting it over without setting a trial, unless there is a Jordan waiver,” said Slawinsky, referring to a process in which the defence agrees to not contest the deadline being exceeded.

“I’m not prepared to simply let it go over to the January arraignments and have a Jordan issue.”

After a Red Deer lawyer acting as agent for Duckett consulted her office, it was agreed to set the trial for the May 2021 dates.

In the meantime, the case will return to court next month to see if will be resolved without a trial.

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