CALGARY — A sentencing hearing for a Calgary man convicted of second-degree murder in the beating death of his girlfriend's three-year-old daughter has been put off until well into next year.
Ivy Wick was injured on Sept. 27, 2017, and died in hospital of head and brain injuries eight days later.
An autopsy revealed she suffered blunt force trauma, which prompted homicide investigators to take over the case.
Justin Bennett was charged a year later following a confession to undercover police officers that he had become angry when interrupted by the child, smashed her in the head, threw her against a wall then tripped her.
He was convicted of second-degree murder in March 2021.
Sentencing was delayed after Bennett demanded a second psychiatric examination then fired two lawyers.
On Tuesday, his new lawyer asked for a further delay until the end of February so he can examine evidence to possibly file a mistrial application.
Court of King's Bench Justice Blair Nixon expressed concern about whether a further delay would affect the administration of justice.
"We're at more than a year-and-a-half past the date of conviction and the reason I was asking the question ... is we are looking now at not even having an application for a mistrial filed at or near the end of February," he said to Crown prosecutor Tom Spark. "That's two years after the conviction."
Spark said a member of the community could look at the proceeding and question why has it taken almost two years after Mr. Bennett was found guilty of murder to be sentenced.
"The Crown is in a difficult position of saying we don't have any knowledge of the strength of Mr. Bennett's application because it's protected by solicitor-client privilege," he said.
In the end, Nixon agreed to the delay.
“Dealing with the issue of a mistrial at this stage will be more efficient than letting it go to an appeal," he said.
The case is back in court on Feb. 3.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 22, 2022.
Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press