No preliminary inquiry in the trial of the man accused of the murder of Max Boudreau
Max Boudreau disappeared after leaving a strip club in Dieppe on November 15. Her body was found in a wooded area in Irishtown about a week later. (File photo)
Justin Barrow, the man charged with the first degree murder of Max Boudreau, will not undergo a preliminary investigation. His case goes directly to the trial stage.
Justin Barrow, 42, from Moncton, is charged with killing the 24-year-old on November 15, 2022.
The defendant was scheduled to appear in court on Monday to set dates for his preliminary hearing, but the hearing was canceled.
The preliminary hearing allows a judge to ascertain the evidence available to the Crown and then to determine whether it is sufficient for a trial. The inquiry allows the accused to get an overview of the Crown case and check the credibility of witnesses. The one about Justin Barrow was supposed to last three weeks.
Crown prosecutor Annie St-Jacques filed a request for a direct indictment last week. This is a rarely used measure. It results in the elimination of the preliminary inquiry.
Martin Goguen, the defense attorney, declined to comment on Tuesday. Annie St-Jacques, for her part, did not return CBC's interview request.
A request for a direct indictment must be approved by the Attorney General of the province or his deputy.
No reason is stated in legal documents signed by Annie St-Jacques and New Brunswick Deputy Attorney General Michael Comeau.
The Public Prosecution Operations Manual explains that direct indictment is indicated if the charge meets the usual standard of charge approval and the public interest requires that the matter be brought directly to trial.
The manual sets out 15 reasons justifying the use of this measure with regard to the second condition, that concerning the public interest.
These reasons include that the preliminary inquiry would not bring the accused to trial within a reasonable time. Many witnesses and testimonies or avoiding multiple proceedings may also justify the use of this measure.
A 2016 Supreme Court of Canada decision sets out an 18-month limit between when charges are laid and when the trial ends or when the trial is expected to end.
In the Court of King's Bench, where murder trials normally take place, the limit is 30 months.
In the Justin Barrow trial, there appeared to be indications of potential significant delays when the defendant last appeared in court on February 27.
Judge Brigitte Volpé said a three-week preliminary hearing would force the presence of a judge from outside Moncton. But, she added, the chief justice had to agree. The judge also said that the lawyers should have taken an interest in these difficulties before the hearing in late February.
She explained that since the accused is in prison, a timetable had to be determined more quickly than usual. The judge then added that the preliminary investigation must take place over the next two months.
Max Boudreau disappeared after leaving a bar in Dieppe on November 15. She was reported missing on November 17. His body was found in a wooded area on November 22 in Irishtown, north of Moncton.
Justin Barrow was arrested the same day. He was charged on November 23 and has been in jail ever since.
If there is no preliminary investigation in this trial, there will be likewise a three-week voir dire according to the legal documents. A voir dire helps determine whether certain evidence is admissible.
Justin Barrow is due in court on April 3.
Based on CBC
reporting by Shane Magee