Second-degree murder trial going slowly

Trial now expected to extend into another week

A Red Deer judge apologetically told a jury in a frequently delayed second-degree murder trial they will be needed longer than expected.

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.

When the trial began Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Bill Hopkins told the jury the trial would likely run until Dec. 7.

“There is no doubt now that this trial is likely to extend in the week of Dec. 10,” he told the seven-woman and five-man jury on Friday morning.

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

Voir dires are often described as a trial within a trial and 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.

Hopkins told jury members while it was hoped they would hear more evidence on Friday preliminary matters remained to be dealt with without the jury present.

“I understand this must be frustrating to you and you want to fulfill your duties you agreed to at the beginning of this trial,” he said.

“I assure you that the time you’re not hearing evidence has been used productively by all involved.”

Crown prosecutors and defence lawyers have been working, sometimes well past regular court hours, to deal with voir dire issues. Lawyers will be back in court on Saturday for a rare weekend sitting.

Hopkins said he would not bring the jury back until next Wednesday “so as not to disrupt your lives any more than necessary.”



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