Sawyer to stand trial

A man accused of second-degree murder had to be subdued by sheriffs after being committed to stand trial in Red Deer provincial court on Wednesday.

  • Sep. 1, 2016 9:29 a.m.

A man accused of second-degree murder had to be subdued by sheriffs after being committed to stand trial in Red Deer provincial court on Wednesday.

Daniel Boyd Sawyer, 32, was charged late last fall in connection with the death of Alan Beach, 31, during a brawl outside a Red Deer pub at about 9 p.m. on Nov. 18. Police later reported that Sawyer turned himself in on Nov. 27 in connection with the incident, which occurred outside the Blarney Stone Pub at Village Mall.

Represented by Calgary defence counsel Chris Archer, Sawyer had asked that his case be heard in the Court of Queen’s Bench with a preliminary hearing in provincial court beforehand. Preliminary hearings are optional on major offences to be tried in the Court of Queen’s Bench, and may be held to test the Crown’s evidence before proceeding to the higher court.

Sawyer’s hearing opened before Judge Gordon Yake on Monday morning and wrapped up just before lunch on Wednesday.

Archer argued that a key witness gave contradictory evidence when challenged by the defence. In his decision, Yake said he found the evidence against Sawyer sufficient enough that a reasonably instructed jury could reach a guilty verdict.

All of the evidence presented during the hearing is protected by a publication ban, a standard procedure requested to protect the accused man’s right to a fair trial.

Sawyer, who has been held in custody since the charge was laid, sat quietly during the proceedings, but erupted while a Sheriff was taking him out of the courtroom so he could be returned to remand.

Yake had just closed court and had not yet left the room as Sawyer was heard screaming obscenities and banging on the walls from behind the closed door that leads to the holding area.

Sheriffs ran in from throughout the courthouse to help get him under control. It was not anticipated that any new charges would be laid as a result of the outburst.

Alberta sheriffs are responsible for providing security in the province’s courthouses.

Sawyer is scheduled for arraignment in the Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench on Oct. 3.