First jury trial since pandemic hit scheduled for fall
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.