Court ap­pear­ance

Cape Bre­ton man charged with first-de­gree mur­der in death of com­mon-law part­ner ap­pears briefly in provin­cial court

Truro Daily News - - FRONT PAGE -

A 40-year-old Gar­diner Mines man charged with first-de­gree mur­der in the death of his com­mon-law part­ner made a brief provin­cial court ap­pear­ance Wed­nes­day and was re­manded un­til his next court date April 26.

Richard Wayne McNeil, 40, is charged in the death of 33-yearold Sara-Beth Ann Forbes whose re­mains were found Tues­day in­side a home the cou­ple shared with their young son on O’Brien Street in Gar­diner Mines.

Dressed in a one-piece painter cov­er­all, is­sued by Cape Bre­ton Re­gional Po­lice who seized McNeil’s cloth­ing as part of their in­ves­ti­ga­tion, McNeil ap­peared in court sur­rounded by five sher­iff deputies while four oth­ers were posted out­side the court­room in the hall­way.

Also present in court were a large num­ber of McNeil’s fam­ily and friends.

Pros­e­cu­tor Steve Drake said the Crown was op­pos­ing McNeil’s re­lease and asked the court to amend the court in­for­ma­tion to re­flect the proper spell­ing of the last name of the ac­cused from MacNeil to McNeil.

Also, Drake asked provin­cial court Judge Ann Marie MacInnes to is­sue a tem­po­rary pub­li­ca­tion ban on the name of the vic­tim cit­ing con­cerns that not all fam­ily mem­bers may have been no­ti­fied.

Nova Sco­tia Le­gal Aid lawyer Matt MacNeil said the de­fence took no po­si­tion con­cern­ing the pro­posed ban.

Drake ad­mit­ted to the court he was un­able to find any case law con­cern­ing such a ban in such a case not­ing the name had al­ready been re­ported by me­dia who re­trieved copies of the in­for­ma­tion from the court ear­lier in the day.

MacInnes said she was not about to in­ter­fere with the rights of a free press in such a case and with­out the Crown be­ing able to re­cite any le­gal author­ity for such a ban, she was deny­ing the Crown’s re­quest.

Matt MacNeil told the court there were con­cerns be­ing ex­pressed about the con­di­tion of

his client’s men­tal health and urged the ac­cused to re­port any con­cerns he may have im­me­di­ately to of­fi­cials at the Cape Bre­ton Cor­rec­tional Cen­tre, a provin­cial jail.

In speak­ing with re­porters out­side the court­room, Drake said he was not able to dis­close the cause of death adding po­lice are con­tin­u­ing their in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

In pro­ceed­ing with a first-de­gree mur­der charge, the Crown is al­leg­ing there was some level of pre­med­i­ta­tion in the crime. A con­vic­tion on such a charge comes with an au­to­matic sen­tence of 25 years.

Cape Bre­ton post

Ac­cused murderer Richard Wayne McNeil, 40, leaves a Syd­ney provin­cial cour­toom Wed­nes­day af­ter be­ing charged with first-de­gree mur­der in con­nec­tion with the death of his com­mon-law part­ner. McNeil is to re­turn to court April 26.

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