Family members of Talia Forrest sobbed outside of a courtroom in Sydney, N.S., on Tuesday after the man accused in the hit-and-run that led to her death failed to appear due to a misunderstanding by his lawyer.
The 10-year-old Indigenous girl was riding her bike on Black Rock Road in Big Bras d'Or, N.S., in July 2019 when she was struck by an SUV.
Colin Hugh Tweedie, a resident of Victoria County, faces four charges in connection with the girl's death, including impaired driving causing death and failing to stop at the scene of an accident.
Tweedie was due in court on Tuesday morning for an arraignment hearing.
But Crown attorney John MacDonald informed the family he had been in contact with Tweedie's lawyer, Tony Mosvik, and there had been a mistake.
"Today was a day for pre-trial motions to occur. Defence council is waiving the need for those pre-trial motions, and they misunderstood that it was still necessary for their client to attend when no trial proceedings were going to start," said MacDonald.
Talia's cousin Taylor Williams said the family was upset after learning the court appearance would not go ahead as scheduled.
"It's almost been three years now ... and then saying, 'Oh he's not here today. You might have to come back tomorrow.' It's not fair," said Williams.
"I was up at 4 a.m. this morning, just anticipating it.... I can only imagine what my cousins and my aunt are going through."
Tweedie was previously released from custody on conditions and has been working in Halifax. He is scheduled to appear in court in person or by video on Wednesday morning.
The trial is set to run from Feb. 1 to Feb. 14.
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