New trial coming for man accused in stabbing death

Second-degree murder trial of Daniel Boyd Sawyer ended in mistrial this week

A city man accused of fatally stabbing another man outside a Red Deer pub will get a new trial.

The second-degree murder trial for Daniel Boyd Sawyer ended in mistrial on Monday afternoon in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench.

Sawyer, 34, is accused of stabbing to death Alan Beach, 31, in a fight outside Red Deer’s Blarney Stone Pub on Nov. 18, 2015. Beach was stabbed and slashed repeatedly and died later in hospital.

Jury selection for Sawyer’s trial began on Nov. 13 and the jury heard the first witness testimony on Nov. 15.

However, the trial quickly got bogged down in evidence issues, which had to be discussed without the jury present. After more than 30 days of court time, the jury heard evidence for less than five full days spread over many weeks.

Justice Bill Hopkins had already expressed his concern about the impact of the many delays on the jury — which was down to the minimum 10 people — before declaring a mistrial.

Sawyer’s case will return to Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench on Feb. 4, when he is expected to be arraigned and a new “hopefully expedited” trial date set, said the judge.

Defence lawyer Chris Archer told the judge he is trying to get the case moved to Calgary, where an earlier trial date can be lined up for his client, who remains in custody.

The necessary court time for a multi-week trial was not available in Red Deer for two years.

Since the case ended in mistrial, outstanding applications made by the defence were not resolved. Archer had made a Jordan application, which argues that the case did not get to trial in a reasonable amount of time.

Archer also made an application alleging abuse of process by Crown prosecutors. Archer intends to file the applications again ahead of the new trial.

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