Fitness hearing and trial of accused Fredericton shooter to be heard by single jury
Published Monday, June 22, 2020 6:31PM ADT Last Updated Monday, June 22, 2020 6:34PM ADT
Matthew Vincent Raymond, charged with four counts of first-degree murder, arrives at provincial court in Fredericton on Monday, Oct. 22, 2018. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan)
FREDERICTON -- A single jury will rule on the mental fitness of accused Fredericton shooter Matthew Raymond, and on a possible subsequent trial for his alleged crimes in the killing of two civilians and two police officers in 2018.
Justice Fred Ferguson of the Court of Queen's Bench made the decision Monday.
Ferguson said the fitness hearing is expected to be the first jury trial in Canada to begin during the pandemic, and will take place at the Fredericton Convention Centre to allow for physical distancing.
Earlier this month, Ferguson said the way in which the fitness hearing will be conducted could serve as a template for other hearings and trials going forward during the pandemic across the country.
Raymond is accused of killing civilians Donnie Robichaud and Bobbie Lee Wright, and Fredericton constables Robb Costello and Sara Burns, on Aug. 10, 2018.
Being fit to stand trial means that an accused understands the charges against them, the consequences of the case, and is capable of instructing their lawyer.
"The decision will be made by a jury," Ferguson said. Jury selection is scheduled to begin Aug. 17.
The Crown is asking for about a month between the two trials, but the defence wants that time shortened.
The Crown has said it needs the time prepare its case and arrange witnesses, including some who may have to travel from outside the province and self-isolate for 14 days as a result of COVID-19 restrictions.
Justice Ferguson says he'll decide on that matter in a conference call with the lawyers on June 29.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 22, 2020.