Trent Butt mur­der trial de­layed un­til 2019

Man ac­cused of killing five-year-old daugh­ter wants Le­gal Aid to pay for new de­fence coun­sel

The Compass - - Front Page - BY TARA BRAD­BURY

Fam­ily and sup­port­ers of five-year-old Quinn Butt gasped and broke down in tears in the gallery at New­found­land and Labrador Supreme Court in St. John’s last Mon­day when they learned it will be an­other year be­fore her father goes to trial for her mur­der.

The first-de­gree mur­der trial for Trent Butt has been set for March 4, 2019, hav­ing been post­poned last week at the last minute. Quinn’s mother, An­drea Gosse, kept her eyes coldly on Butt - who ap­peared to be smirk­ing - when sher­iff’s of­fi­cers es­corted him into the court­room. Once court was ad­journed and Butt was taken back to the lockup, an emo­tional Gosse and other sup­port­ers wept and hugged.

Butt, 39, is charged with mur­der and ar­son in the death of Quinn, whose body was re­moved from Butt’s burn­ing Carbonear home on April 24, 2016. Butt and Gosse were es­tranged.

Three days be­fore his trial was set to be­gin last week, Butt in­di­cated to the court that he had fired his lawyers, Mike King and Bob Sim­monds, and wanted to be rep­re­sented by de­fence lawyers Bob Buck­ing­ham and Robert Hoskins in­stead.

Buck­ing­ham told the court Butt had ap­plied to Le­gal Aid for a cer­tifi­cate in or­der to pay for Buck­ing­ham and Hoskins, but was de­nied due to re­cent changes in the Le­gal Aid Act.

For the past 10 years, Le­gal Aid clients fac­ing se­ri­ous charges such as mur­der had the op­tion of be­ing rep­re­sented by pri­vate lawyers like King, Sim­monds, Buck­ing­ham and Hoskins, but the leg­is­la­tion was changed last month. That means Butt no longer has a choice of lawyer. In court last Mon­day, Butt was rep­re­sented by Le­gal Aid lawyer Derek Ho­gan, though Buck­ing­ham and Hoskins watched from the gallery. It’s not yet known whether Buck­ing­ham will chal­lenge the new leg­is­la­tion in court. Crown prose­cu­tor Lloyd Strick­land in­di­cated he and fel­low prose­cu­tor Jen­nifer Lun­dri­gan were ready to pro­ceed with the trial, but Ho­gan told the judge he wouldn’t be ready or avail­able to pro­ceed with the four-week pro­ceed­ings un­til next spring.

TARA BRAD­BURY/THE TELE­GRAM

Quinn Butt was five when she died in 2016 at her father’s home.

TARA BRAD­BURY/THE TELE­GRAM

Quinn Butt’s mother, An­drea Gosse, hugs her own mother and weeps upon learn­ing it will be an­other year be­fore Quinn’s father, Trent Butt, will go to trial. Butt, 39, is charged with first-de­gree mur­der and ar­son in con­nec­tion with the lit­tle girl’s...

TARA BRAD­BURY/THE TELE­GRAM

Ac­cused mur­derer Trent Butt wants Le­gal Aid to pay pri­vate lawyers Bob Buck­ing­ham and Robert Hoskins to rep­re­sent him. He was rep­re­sented by Le­gal Aid lawyer Derek Ho­gan in court last week.

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