Separate trials for two people in death of Edmonton toddler left outside church

EDMONTON — Two people charged in the death of a toddler whose body was found outside a church in April 2017 will have separate trials.

Police have said Anthony Joseph Raine, who was 19 months old, was covered in bruises and he was killed by a blow to the head.

The toddler’s father Joey Crier and his then-girlfriend Tasha Mack are accused of second-degree murder, criminal negligence causing death, failure to provide the necessaries of life and assault. Crier is also charged with assault causing bodily harm.

Their trial was to start in Edmonton on Wednesday, but was delayed after Crier’s lawyer, Amanda Hart-Dowhun, asked to be removed from the case.

“There has been a fundamental breakdown of the lawyer-client relationship,” she told Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Rob Graesser.

Crier failed to show up at court on Monday for jury selection. He was arrested on Tuesday and sat in the prisoner’s box for Wednesday’s proceedings.

“I’m sorry the relationship has broken down,” responded Graesser. “I certainly will not force you to stay on.”

Crown prosecutor Mark van Manen said he still preferred to have one trial, because there are between 40 and 45 witnesses to testify.

But the lawyers weren’t able to agree on a date that could start within 30 months of the charges being laid. That timeline for criminal cases was established by the Supreme Court in what’s known as the Jordan decision.

Mack’s lawyer, Ajay Juneja, declined to waive his client’s rights under the decision, so Mack’s trial is to begin Monday.

Crier, who waived his Jordan rights, will take place at a later date. He will stay in custody because his bail was revoked for missing court earlier in the week.

“I need time to find a lawyer,” he said.

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