A lack of court space has imperiled a murder suspect’s right to a speedy trial, a Court of Queen’s Bench Justice said on Monday in Red Deer.
Justice Earl Wilson of Calgary made the comment while trying to schedule court time for a man charged with murdering his brother.
John Mock, 34, pleaded not guilty by reason of being not criminally responsible in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench on Monday.
Red Deer lawyer Luc Kurata, in court on behalf of Mock’s regular lawyer, said the plea reflects a psychiatrist’s report regarding Mock’s mental state.
Mock is accused of killing his younger brother, Timothy James Mock, 33, at a rural home near Consort on Feb. 22.
Coronation RCMP allege that they discovered the man’s body while investigating a 911 hangup call.
The elder brother was arrested and charged with second-degree murder.
He has been behind bars since.
Represented by defence counsel Darren Mahoney of Calgary, Mock previously entered a not-guilty plea and elected to be tried by Queen’s Bench judge and jury.
The trial was tentatively scheduled at that time to begin with a three-day voir dire, or trial within a trial, on Nov. 5, 2013, with the trial proper scheduled for three weeks, starting on Nov. 12, 2013.
That’s another year down the road and far too long for an accused to “languish” in custody while awaiting trial, Wilson said in discussing the trial dates with Kurata and with Crown prosecutor Maurice Collard.
“A year in custody? He’s presumed to be innocent, for God’s sake,” said Wilson, who then instructed the lawyers to try to work out an earlier date, even if it required reassigning the trial of someone else who is not in custody.
The trial was booked for November, subject to change pending further attempts by Collard and Kurata to find earlier dates.
They are to return to court on Friday to advise of any changes.