Penny Boudreau pleads for her daughter Karissa to come home during a news conference at the Bridgewater Police Department in January. Ms. Boudreau was later charged with murder when the 12-year-old’s body was found dumped on a riverbank 12 days after she was reported missing.
Karissa’s mother going straight to trial - Nova Scotia News - TheChronicleHerald.ca (external - login to view)
BRIDGEWATER — Penny Boudreau has waived her right to a preliminary inquiry, which means she accepts the prosecution has at minimum a basic case against her.
"We’ve got a case at least to proceed, yes," Crown attorney Paul Scovil said outside a Bridgewater provincial courtroom Wednesday morning. "We’re entering the trial phase, the very beginning of it."
Ms. Boudreau was charged in June with the premeditated killing of her daughter, Karissa. The 12-year-old girl’s frozen remains were found on the riverbank just outside Bridgewater on Feb. 9, 12 days after her mother reported her missing.
Ms. Boudreau did not appear in court Wednesday. Her lawyer, Pat Atherton, was there on her behalf and declined to give an interview, as did about a dozen family members who were there.
A preliminary inquiry determines if there are enough basic facts to take a case to trial.
"Generally, a preliminary might be waived because they are satisfied that the test that we have to put to the court in the preliminary hearing would be satisfied at that level and it would be put over to the Supreme Court for trial," Mr. Scovil said. "It’s a very low test."
Waiving the hearing does not mean Ms. Boudreau may plead guilty to killing her daughter, Mr. Scovil said.
"It doesn’t mean they’re going to plea, it doesn’t mean they’re not going to plea, it doesn’t mean anything other than they obviously are satisfied we can meet the test and that there aren’t any witnesses that they wish to question for their purposes."
Ms. Boudreau elected to be tried in Supreme Court by a judge and jury but has not yet entered a plea. Mr. Scovil said that might not happen for some time because an accused does not usually enter a plea until she is before a jury.
If the accused changes her plea, she would re-elect to appear before a judge alone, plead guilty and be sentenced.
The case goes before a Supreme Court judge Dec. 4. At that point, a trial date may be set or further court dates set aside for preliminary motions.