Murder trial delayed over evidence issues

Three-week jury trial was to begin Tuesday for man accused of 2006 murder of Eckville man

The trial of a man accused of kidnapping and murdering an Eckville man in 2006 stalled on Monday after evidence issues arose.

A three-week jury trial was to begin on Tuesday for Shayne Earl Gulka, 46, on charges of kidnapping and first-degree murder in connection with the death of Bradley William Webber, 46, in October of 2006.

It is alleged that Gulka was one of two men who kidnapped an unnamed man on Oct. 24, 2006 and forced him to give up the whereabouts of an associate, who was living in an RV northwest of Eckville. The two men then allegedly went to the RV and shot Webber, who died of multiple gunshot wounds.

Jury selection was to have taken place on Monday afternoon but was cancelled after defence lawyer Michael Scrase raised concerns about disclosure, the evidence to be used against his client.

Scrase is awaiting an audio-visual recording of a police interview of a key witness against his client, as well as notes from a Calgary Police Service investigators. Hundreds of pages of transcripts from another trial that may have a bearing on the case have also been requested.

Scrase argued before Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Richard Neufeld that he should have been made aware of additional records and an application that related to the credibility of a prosecution witness whose evidence was going to be used in the Gulka case.

“I’m upset. I’m frustrated,” said Scrase.

A judge did not allow the same witness to take the stand to testify in another case. The judge’s reasons are protected under a publication ban pending an appeal of the decision.

Crown prosecutor Adam May said his office disagrees that all of the necessary disclosure was not provided to the defence.

Justice Neufeld asked if delaying the trial could make the question of whether the accused received a trial within a reasonable time period an issue.

In what is known as the Jordan decision, the Supreme Court of Canada set timelines of 18 months from charges to trial for provincial court cases without a preliminary inquiry and 30 months for higher court cases.

Gulka was charged in March 2016 and the 30-month deadline would be reached in early September.

“I am concerned about Jordan here, but it is what it is,” said Neufeld.

Last month, an alleged gang leader facing first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder and instructing a criminal organization charges was allowed to walk free after a Calgary judge issued a stay saying the trial did not take place within a reasonable time.

Scrase said he has made no decision on whether to make a Jordan application.

The case returns to court on May 18 when the defence and Crown prosecutors will give the judge an update on the case.

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