2 Halifax murder trials postponed by search for lawyers

·2 min read
Owen Patrick Nelson is shown being brought into Dartmouth provincial court following his 2018 arrest.  (CBC - image credit)
Owen Patrick Nelson is shown being brought into Dartmouth provincial court following his 2018 arrest. (CBC - image credit)

Two murder trials scheduled for Halifax later this year have been knocked off course by the search for new lawyers.

Devlin Tyson Glasgow and Owen Patrick Nelson appeared separately by video in Nova Scotia Supreme Court Thursday morning to discuss their cases.

Glasgow is charged with first-degree murder in the 2013 death of Matthew Thomas Sudds. His body was discovered alongside Africville Road near the Bedford Basin on Oct. 14, 2013.

Another man, Ricardo Jerrell Whynder, was convicted of second-degree murder in Sudds's death, but that conviction was overturned on appeal. Whynder is awaiting a second trial.

Glasgow was scheduled to begin pre-trial motions next week in preparation for a jury trial that had been scheduled for September. But without a lawyer, next week's hearings have been scrubbed, and the judge is hoping the September dates could be used to deal with the pre-trial motions.

Nelson is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Karen Lee MacKenzie of Dartmouth, N.S., in February 2018. Her body has never been found, but Nelson is also charged with interfering with human remains. MacKenzie and Nelson had dated and he had previously been subject to a court order to stay away from her.

Nelson was scheduled for a 20-day trial, beginning next month. But he has not yet been able to secure the services of a lawyer, so those dates have been freed up.

There is a backlog of more than 40 jury trials that need to be scheduled for the Halifax area. The backlog was created because of disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Two new courtrooms opened in the Burnside industrial park at the end of last month where jury trials are now being held.

With only two cases scheduled at a time and new cases being added regularly, it will likely take years to clear the backlog.

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