PICTOU – The preliminary inquiry for a local man charged with kidnapping and murder will continue Monday with testimony from a Nova Scotia RCMP officer.
Cpl. Trevor Penny will return to the witness stand at 1:30 p.m. in Pictou Provincial Court.
Penny is the 15th witness to testify in the preliminary inquiry for Christopher Alexander Falconer who is charged with first-degree murder and kidnapping in the death of 19-year-old Amber Kirwan.
KIrwan went missing Oct. 9, 2011, from outside a pool hall in downtown New Glasgow. Her remains were found in Heathbell about a month later.
A steady stream of witnesses has taken the stand since the inquiry began Monday afternoon. Those who testified so far include: Christy Fiander, Morgan Curley, Maggie Chickness, Renee Avery, Mason Campbell, Nathan Goodall, RCMP Cpl. Mark Kellock, Det. Jason MacKinnon of the New Glasgow Regional Police Services, Det. Robin Hatt of the New Glasgow Regional Police, RCMP Sgt. Darlene McEachren, Nova Scotia Medical Examiner Dr. Matthew Bowes, RCMP Cpl. Albert Boswell, Lorna Aikens, RCMP Cpl. John Landry and Penny.
A publication ban is in place, which prohibits testimony about the evidence being called during the inquiry from being published or broadcast.
The Crown, which consists of Bill Gorman and Patrick Young, says it is about one third of the way through the preliminary inquiry, which focuses on the Crown's evidence. Defence lawyer Mike Taylor has consented to committal, meaning that no matter the result of the hearing, his client has agreed to take the matter to trial.
The court had originally scheduled 15 days for the preliminary hearing, spread over a number of weeks with full and half-day sessions, but the Crown now says it could be over as early as the first of March.
Falconer, currently a prisoner at Dorchester Penitentiary for a parole violation, is being remanded at the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility in Burnside for the duration of the inquiry.
The accused has sat quietly in court throughout the inquiry, listening to the evidence being called by the Crown and having little in-court discussion with his lawyer. As with any high profile case, extra security is in place at the Pictou courthouse.
A large crowd filled the galley Monday afternoon for the start of the inquiry, but by Thursday only a few people, other than police and local media, were in the courtroom seats. Kirwan's family attended the first few days of the inquiry and Falconer has had a family member in the galley each day.