Pre­lim­i­nary in­quiry for North River mur­der could move to St. John’s

Pro­vin­cial court judge crit­i­cal of con­di­tions at Har­bour Grace court­house

The Compass - - Editorial - TC ME­DIA edi­tor@cb­n­com­

A two-week pre­lim­i­nary in­quiry for two men ac­cused of mur­der­ing a man in North River will likely move to St. John’s.

The Crown prose­cu­tor in the case against Al­lan Winfield Pot­ter and Daniel Ed­ward Leonard brought up that idea Fri­day at Har­bour Grace Pro­vin­cial Court. The week be­fore, charges against the two men in re­la­tion to the death of Dale Porter were up­graded to first-de­gree mur­der.

While lawyers han­dling the case agreed to book a two-week pre­lim­i­nary in­quiry in Har­bour Grace start­ing Nov. 20, it looks like they will at­tempt to move that to St. John’s.

The Novem­ber court date would come more than a year af­ter Pot­ter and Leonard were orig­i­nally ar­rested and charged. A Supreme Court rul­ing last year on the ad­mis­si­bil­ity of pro­ceed­ing with cases tak­ing too long to make their way through the courts has forced lawyers and judges to try and ex­pe­dite mat­ters where pos­si­ble. Jus­tice Min­is­ter An­drew Par­sons cited the R. vs. Jor­dan rul­ing as a fac- tor last year in the re­ver­sal of an ear­lier de­ci­sion to close the Har­bour Grace court­house.

Pick­ing up on the topic of man­ag­ing the court’s sched­ule, Judge Bruce Short took some time Fri­day to air griev­ances. He said peo­ple go­ing through the jus­tice sys­tem in Har­bour Grace are treated dif­fer­ently than else­where and sug­gested there’s a great need for a sec­ond court­room.

Short noted there is con­sid­er­able square footage in the Babb Build­ing, where the prov­ince has a 10-year lease. He’s of the un­der­stand­ing it would take two weeks to do the work nec­es­sary to set up a sec­ond court­room.

Short would also like to have the court­house equipped with a pris­oner’s cell. He made note of a sit­u­a­tion the pre­vi­ous day where a per­son in cus­tody had to sit through a lengthy bail hear­ing for a fel­low pris­oner. “It’s a dis­grace,” Short said. Pot­ter and Leonard both re­main in cus­tody.


Al­lan Pot­ter en­ter­ing Har­bour Grace Pro­vin­cial Court.

Daniel Leonard in a photo taken last year out­side Har­bour Grace Pro­vin­cial Court.

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