Blue Line

Trial of alleged Fredericton shooter set for 8 weeks this autumn

FREDERICTON — A Fredericton man accused of fatally shooting four people, including two police officers, in a killing spree last August will stand trial this fall.

March 22, 2019  By The Canadian Press

Eight weeks have been set aside for the trial of Matthew Raymond, who made his first appearance in Court of Queens Bench Wednesday.

Raymond is charged with the first-degree murders of Fredericton police constables Sara Burns and Robb Costello, and civilians Donnie Robichaud and Bobbie Lee Wright.

His trial has been set for Sept. 30. Justice Fred Ferguson has scheduled a pretrial hearing with the lawyers next week.

He said Raymond won’t enter a plea until the start of trial.

“This is not the time for a plea to be entered because there is no jury here,” Ferguson said.

Raymond sat quietly in court Wednesday, dressed in the same orange jail clothing he wore for his earlier provincial court appearances. A long, greying beard had been shaved off.

The judge said findings of an assessment to determine if Raymond can be found criminally responsible for what happened will remain sealed.

He also raised concerns about investigations still being done by WorkSafe New Brunswick and by the Nova Scotia Serious Incident Response Team (SIRT).

Ferguson said he would not issue a publication ban on the results of those investigations now, but would do so if they were released before the jury began deliberations. He said he would not want the findings to have any effect on the jury.

The 48-year-old Raymond was previously found fit to stand trial.

The Crown took the case to the Court of Queens Bench with a direct indictment, avoiding a preliminary hearing.

Raymond is accused of firing a long gun from his apartment window, killing the two civilians as they loaded a car for a trip on Aug. 10. Police allege Raymond shot the two officers as they responded to the scene.

Despite the intention to send the case to trial, defence lawyer Alison Menard said the public should not assume how her client will plead, or what will happen.

“In most cases it’s not possible to make assumptions about what will or will not happen. Everything will happen in the court environment,” she said.

Very little could be done Wednesday to prepare for future proceedings because there is some question whether Menard will continue to be Raymond’s lawyer.

She was appointed by the provincial court, but that appointment is done, and it’s now in the hands of legal aid officials to determine if they will keep her in place for the case. That decision could be made by the end of the week.

The case is to return to court next Wednesday, March 27.

– Kevin Bissett

News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc., 2019

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