Murder trial ends in mistrial

Daniel Boyd Sawyer was on trial for second-degree murder

A second-degree murder trial bogged down repeatedly with evidence issues has ended in a mistrial.

Justice Bill Hopkins declared the trial was over for Daniel Boyd Sawyer Monday afternoon after the jury was called back to Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench.

Defence lawyer Chris Archer confirmed Monday night the judge had “discharged the jury and directed a mistrial.”

Defence lawyers and Crown prosecutors will be back in court Tuesday morning to discuss how to proceed.

Daniel Boyd Sawyer was on trial for second-degree murder for his role in the death of Alan Beach, 31, following a fight outside the Blarney Stone Pub on Nov. 18, 2015.

Sawyer is accused of repeatedly stabbing Beach, who later died in hospital from his injuries.

The seven-woman, five-man jury first heard evidence Nov. 15.

But after only two days of testimony, the trial gave way to increasingly lengthy voir dires in which evidence issues were discussed without the jury present.

It soon became clear that an early estimate that the trial would wrap up around Dec. 7 was going to be well off the mark.

Dec. 12, the jury, which hadn’t heard any evidence in two weeks, was told it would not be needed until Jan. 7.

One witness testified in the morning before the jury — now down to four men and six women — was once again dismissed until Wednesday afternoon when it would be given an update on the status of the trial.

Instead, the jurors found out they were being discharged.

Barbara Hanson testified she saw a man come into the bar covered in blood and clutching a knife after hearing noise outside the pub in the Village Mall.

“There was a lot of commotion at the door at one point around 8:30 (p.m.),” she testified.

Hanson said after the ruckus, a man came into the bar and yelled for somebody to call police.

A short time later, stabbing victim Beach came in with another man. Beach was bleeding from wounds to his face, ribs and leg.

“There was lots of blood on his ribs, and his jeans were ripped and that was the part that was bleeding the most.”

Hanson said she could see a knife, with a design on it, in Beach’s right hand. He headed into a nearby washroom. He came out shortly after and handed the knife and something else she did not see clearly to a blond woman, who then left the bar.

Beach went back into the bathroom. She next saw him being wheeled out on a stretcher by emergency responders.

Hanson said she was interviewed by RCMP at the scene and again the following morning.

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