PICTOU – A 37-year-old Pictou County man accused of second-degree murder has asked to have his case adjourned.
Robert Jason MacKenzie is accused of killing 33-year-old Nicole Campbell on Dec. 30, 2015, when her body was found in a New Glasgow apartment.
MacKenzie had jury trial dates scheduled in Pictou Supreme Court from May 28 to June 23, but on Thursday his lawyer asked for an adjournment because it is having difficulty securing a medical expert’s testimony.
Defence lawyer Elizabeth Cooper told the court that it has been trying to confirm the medical expert’s availability to testify, but more time was needed.
In the summer of 2017, the court told lawyers that because of the Jordan threshold, the trial must take place before June 2018 unless the defence was willing to agree to a delay.
The judgment, commonly referred to as the Jordan decision, explored whether the accused’s right to be tried within a reasonable time had been infringed after a delay of more than four years between charges and the end of trial. In that case, the delay was determined unreasonable, the proceedings were stayed and new timelines were set – 18 months for cases tried in provincial court and 30 months for cases in a superior court or cases tried in provincial court after a preliminary inquiry. Delay caused or waived by the defence doesn’t count toward the timeline.
In July 2017, Cooper said her client was not willing to waive the delay, but on Thursday, the defence agreed to an adjournment.
Crown attorney Patrick Young said he was opposed to the adjournment because there was already considerable time between the alleged offence and the trial date, which could have an effect on the witnesses’ recall of events.
Justice Denise Boudreau said she was also concerned with any further delays because MacKenzie remains in custody. She said it would be best to keep the jury trial dates intact and have defence provide an update on its witnesses’ availability on April 5.
She said the justice sitting on this day can determine if an adjournment will be granted based on the status update provided by the defence or if the trial will proceed on these allotted dates.
Boudreau did accept an adjournment and re-election to Supreme Court judge alone for MacKenzie in regard to a separate trial scheduled to take place on April 9 on charges of robbery and carrying a weapon with the purpose to commit a crime between Nov. 30 and Dec. 17, 2015.
She also deferred this case to April 5 during which time a new trial date is expected to be set.