Second-degree murder trial dragging on

Trial of man accused in fatal stabbing frequently interrupted by voir dires

The jury in a second-degree murder trial in Red Deer left court without hearing any evidence again on Wednesday.

The seven-woman, five-man jury has not heard any evidence since Nov. 27 and were told by Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Bill Hopkins they won’t be needed until Tuesday while Crown prosecutors and defence lawyers continue voir dires.

Deliberations might begin on Dec. 18, the judge said.

A couple of jurors shook their heads as the judge thanked them for their patience and told them they would not be hearing any testimony as expected.

Trial testimony has been frequently halted and the jury dismissed, sometimes for days at a time, because of voir dires.

Often described as a trial within a trial,voir dires are typically held to consider the admissibility of evidence. A publication ban covers all evidence heard during a voir dire where there is a jury involved.

The jury first heard testimony on Nov. 15 in the trial of Daniel Boyd Sawyer, who is accused of fatally stabbing Alan Beach, 31, in a fight outside Red Deer’s Blarney Stone Pub in November 2015.

Crown prosecutor Ed Ring said the delays in hearing testimony are not unusual.

“The most I could say is every case is different,” said Ring, who is assistant chief Crown prosecutor in Red Deer. “It’s certainly nothing unexpected or out of the ordinary.”



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