Preliminary hearing bypassed
TORONTO - The two men accused in the murder of Ancaster man Tim Bosma will be going straight to trial, without the usual first step of a preliminary hearing.
Dellen Millard and Mark Smich will be facing first-degree murder charges, probably next year, as the attorney general’s office has agreed to the rare request made by the Crown’s office last month for a direct indictment. This manoeuvre bypasses the usual route of a preliminary hearing before advancing to trial in Superior Court.
“It’s very extremely rare as the vast overwhelming majority of cases, including most high profile ones, go to the preliminary hearing route,” Millard’s lawyer Ravin Pillay said.
“It’s an important part of the criminal justice system — it means the charge gets screened by a judicial officer. It tests the strength of the Crown case, understanding the witnesses’ evidence compared to their police statements,” Pillay said.
“It has many benefits to the administration of justice. The Crown can better understand the prospect of conviction and defence can understand the evidence. Other charges can be laid or withdrawn.”
Pillay said the prosecution’s decision to go by preferred indictment “is late in the game.”
Both sides will be in Superior Court in Hamilton Friday to receive the preferred indictment.
Pillay said the move “significantly impedes” Millard’s ability to present “a full and complete defence to a serious criminal charge because there is only one shot to cross-examine the witnesses and reveal flaws in that testimony.”
Ontario Community Safety Minister Madeleine Meilleur said she couldn’t discuss a particular case, but the Criminal Code empowers the attorney general or his deputy to refer a case directly to trial.
“The provision is there if there is a solid case and justice will be better served by going directly to trial,” Meilleur said Wednesday.
“It’s not often that this happens. It’s a special procedure.”
Millard, 28, was arrested in May 2013 after Bosma’s badly burned remains were found on the suspect’s Ayr, Ont., farm. Smich, 26, who is Millard’s pal, was arrested days later.
Tim Bosma murder accused going straight to trial | Toronto & GTA | News | Toront
I really hope like hell they know what they are doing.