First jury trial since pan­demic hit sched­uled for fall

Calgary Herald - - CITY+REGION - KEVIN MARTIN Kmartin@post­ On Twit­ter: @Kmart­in­courts

It may be ten­ta­tively set, but the first jury trial in Cal­gary since the COVID -19 pan­demic ar­rived has been sched­uled.

De­fence lawyer An­dre Ouel­lette ap­peared be­fore Jus­tice Earl Wil­son to set down a three-week jury trial for mur­der sus­pect Hunter Van Mack­el­berg to be­gin Oct. 5.

“The mat­ter will be pro­ceed­ing for three weeks com­menc­ing Oct. 5, 2020,” Wil­son said.

At ear­lier Crim­i­nal Ap­pear­ance Court ses­sions dur­ing the height of the pan­demic, the Court of Queen’s Bench judge told lawyers it would be a long time be­fore jury tri­als could be set con­sid­er­ing the need for phys­i­cal dis­tanc­ing.

Ouel­lette said he and Crown pros­e­cu­tor Ron Si­menik could still agree to elect a judge-alone trial and would make that de­ci­sion prior to a pre-trial con­fer­ence set for July 21.

Un­der the Crim­i­nal Code, all mur­der cases must be heard by ju­ries un­less both sides agree to have a Court of Queen’s Bench jus­tice pre­side over the case alone.

If no re-elec­tion is made a jury will be se­lected on Oct. 1.

Van Mack­el­berg, 19, was charged with sec­ond-de­gree mur­der fol­low­ing the dis­cov­ery of the body of an Air­drie man near Balzac in Fe­bru­ary.

Kalix Lan­ge­nau, also 19, was last seen in north­east Cal­gary on Feb. 15 and his re­mains were found two days later just north of the city.

Van Mack­el­berg, who ap­peared in court via closed-cir­cuit TV from the Cal­gary Re­mand Cen­tre, re­mains in cus­tody pend­ing his trial.

Moun­ties in­di­cated Lan­ge­nau was the vic­tim of homi­cide, but have not re­vealed the cause of his death.

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