Defence accuses Crown of 'abuse of process' in murder trial

Defence accuses Crown of 'abuse of process' in murder trial

A Nova Scotia Crown attorney wants to go straight to trial against a man accused of killing a woman in 2005, but his lawyer says that would be an abuse of process. 

Donald Murray Peters, 50, is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Naomi Kidston. She was found dead in her Halifax apartment on June 7, 2005.

Peters was arrested last month at his home in Saint John, N.B., and brought back to Halifax to face the second-degree murder charge.

Peters appeared in Halifax provincial court on Thursday before Judge Bill Digby. His lawyer, Don Murray, said that's when he learned the Crown wanted to skip a preliminary inquiry and go straight to trial.

Disclosure not yet complete

"I think it's an abuse. I think it's not fair play with respect to the way the investigation's been conducted," Murray said.

"My client was known to the police as a person of interest right from the start, so they've been looking at him for 12 years and trying to pull together a case."

Murray said he still doesn't have full disclosure from the Crown. He said he's been given a 4,000-page package and he had 12 days to review it.

"I will be making application that their choice of a direct indictment has been an abuse of process in this case and that puts a burden on me to satisfy the Supreme Court of some very significant things," Murray said. "We're concerned enough about it that we're going to have to take on that burden."

Jail transfer slows communication

Murray said his efforts to prepare this case were hampered when Peters was recently transferred out of town to the provincial jail in Pictou, making it difficult for the lawyer and his client to meet.

Police believe Peters was living in Halifax at the time of Kidston's death and that the two knew one another.

Peters is due in Supreme Court next month to start the trial process.

A spokesperson for the Nova Scotia Public Prosecution Service said they will make their arguments on this case in court. Chris Hansen said section 577 of the Criminal Code gives prosecutors the authority to ask for matters like this to directly go to trial.