No trial until 2018
Evidence, disclosure, translation complicate trials in Ottawa man’s death
The investigation into the murder of Khan Nguyen, an Ottawa man who died in Alexandria in early June after being left at the hospital there, is progressing slowly and won’t be ready to put the two men accused of killing him on trial until after January.
One of those two men, Anh Quang Nguyen, appeared in a Cornwall courtroom on Thursday to set a date for his own trial on charges of accessory to murder after the fact and production of marijuana.
Two different Crown attorneys have been assigned to his case, one for the accessory to murder charge and the other for the drug offence. They informed the judge that because Nguyen and his accomplice, Tri Ming Hoang, were not being investigated prior to their arrest, the police are still trying to complete an entire criminal investigation into their activities with the legal process already underway.
According to the Crown, officers raided a property connected with the two men and seized 110 pieces of evidence as well as four different cellphones. Every one of these items is currently waiting to be analysed by the Centre of Forensic Sciences; a process that will take at least until the end of December. The phones will also have to be broken into, which also takes time and expertise.
Because of this, the Crown told the court it would oppose any application to have the legal proceeding against Nguyen and Hoang go ahead this fall.
That didn’t appear to be a problem, however. Because of all of the co-ordinating of witnesses, experts, judges and lawyers that will be required for the trials, the closest available date for Nguyen’s fiveday trial appears to be in May.
Hoang, who is facing a charge of second-degree murder, hasn’t even reached the point of trying to set a trial date.
The charges against the two men also typically require they tried by a jury, but finding one could potentially delay the process another 10 months, so on Thursday the Crown offered to consent to a trial by a judge for the sake of expediency.
The 29-year-old Nguyen could only follow the discussion in court with the aid of a Vietnamese interpreter. His language barrier is also apparently hampering his ability to seek bail, despite being held in jail for more than three months.
Nguyen is apparently retaining his defence attorney with the help of legal aid, which will only pay for an hour of an interpreter’s time once a month to facilitate private discussions with his lawyer.
During the hearing, he asked about the status of his bail application, but no one knew what to tell him. His lawyer had sent an agent instead of coming in person.