First-degree bombing murder trial change of venue request refused

The bid to move a murder trial out of Red Deer has been refused.

The bid to move a murder trial out of Red Deer has been refused.

A defence application for the move was made in relation to a Central Alberta financial planner accused of the bombing death of a young mother in Innisfail.

Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Earl Wilson made his ruling on Monday morning in Red Deer court after hearing from Edmonton lawyer Bob Aloneissi, who is representing Brian Andrew Malley, and Red Deer Crown prosecutor Jason Snider, who opposed the application.

Aloneissi argued that the problem of finding an impartial jury in the Red Deer area would be “insurmountable” given the case’s media exposure and the numerous people who have a direct or indirect connection to the case.

Moving the trial to a venue such as Edmonton would offer a much larger jury pool from an area less closely connected to the case.

Malley, 57, is charged with first-degree murder, causing an explosion likely to cause harm or death and sending an explosive device in connection with the death of Vicky Shachtay, 23, at her Innisfail home on Nov. 25, 2011.

Wilson ruled that while the case had attracted “significant media attention,” it was not on an “unremitting basis.”

The justice also dismissed defence concerns that Malley’s role as a longtime financial advisor threatened the ability to find an impartial jury. Malley was found in March to have violated a number of Investment Industry Regulation Organization of Canada (IIROC) rules in his dealings with clients — more than 50 of whom had lodged complaints.

An $80-million civil lawsuit is also underway.

Wilson said the problem could be resolved through the judge’s right to excuse jurors with a personal financial interest in a case.

Wilson said he saw no reason that a fair trial could not be held in Red Deer.

Malley’s six-week trial is set to begin on Jan. 26, 2015.