Moncton man charged with first degree murder will have to wait for trial date

·3 min read

The Chief Justice of New Brunswick's Court of Queen's Bench did not set a trial date for a Moncton man charged with first degree murder as expected Monday, saying any available dates were too far in the future.

Jake Kristian Mischiek, 21, is charged in connection with the shooting death of Josh Daley, 27, at an apartment in downtown Moncton on May 21.

Mischiek made an appearance Monday morning in the Court of Queen's Bench for motions day, a time when trial dates are set.

But Chief Justice Tracey DeWare raised concerns about a proposed trial date in July and August of 2022.

DeWare says that seems too long to wait.

"It just doesn't sit well with me that we would wait that long." she said.

Kate Letterick/CBC News
Kate Letterick/CBC News

DeWare explained to the court that only one jury trial at a time can be held in the Moncton courthouse and the docket is already full for 2021. She also said judges were booked up for the year.

COVID precautions to blame for limited court rooms

The New Brunswick Justice Department says the long delay all comes down to COVID-19 restrictions.

Renovations were made to the larger of the two jury courtrooms in Moncton in September, to expand the size of the jury box to allow for physical distancing, but the jury box in the other courtroom couldn't be changed.

Justice Department spokesperson Coreen Enos explained in an e-mail statement that jury deliberation rooms are too small to accommodate people to meet COVID-19 rules.

"We have had to use an empty courtroom to double as a jury deliberation room. As a result, we need to reserve two courtrooms for every jury trial we hold." Enos wrote. "That number grows to three courtrooms if we need to set up an overflow courtroom for members of the families to witness the trial as there is very limited seating in the jury courtroom."

Enos goes on to say due to logistical limitations, Moncton can only host one jury trial at a time. She said the same applies to the Saint John courthouse.

Chief Justice looks for options

The Chief Justice said the solution would be to bring in judges from outside the Moncton area, and try to find time to schedule Mischiek's trial.

The matter will be back before the Court of Queen's Bench on the next motions day, Dec. 7, to set a trial date.

In August, a psychiatric assessment determined Mischiek can be held criminally responsible for his actions. A judge ordered the assessment at the Restigouche Hospital Centre in Campbellton in July. It followed a separate assessment that found he was fit to stand trial.

Codiac Regional RCMP say they responded to a 911 call about 9:20 p.m. on May 21 about shots being fired in a downtown apartment building.

Daley was found "badly injured" inside the building and taken to hospital, where he died.

Mischiek was arrested at a nearby residence a short while later, police said in May.

Mischiek remains in custody.