The Chronicle Herald (Metro)
Woman charged in 2019 killing seeks bail
After more than 20 months in custody awaiting trial on a charge of first-degree murder, a Sydney woman is seeking bail.
Jessica Anne Macdonald, 35, is one of two people charged with murder in the stabbing death of Stephen Richard Rose, 41, whose body was found Nov. 5, 2019, in an apartment at Rotary Park in Sydney.
Her jury trial is set for May 2-27, 2022, in Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Sydney.
Macdonald appeared in Supreme Court in Halifax on Thursday via a video link from the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility in Dartmouth to firm up the dates and location for a bail hearing.
There was talk about holding the hearing in Halifax because a judge isn’t available in Sydney, but the prosecution objected to that proposal.
“Mr. Rose ... belonged to a local Indigenous Cape Breton community,” Crown attorney Rochelle Palmer said. “The broader community, as well as no less than six members of his family, have attended every single court date (in Sydney). ... So they would be at a disadvantage if this matter was heard in Halifax.”
Palmer also pointed out that the prosecutors and most of their witnesses are in the Sydney area.
“The matter should be dealt with in the community where the offence occurred, given that the community has a broader interest in seeing what is going on, especially something so important as interim release,” she told the court.
Defence lawyer Peter Mancini said the defence was “flexible” in terms of where the bail hearing should take place. He said his client can be transported to Sydney from the Dartmouth jail and the defence’s main witness can testify from Halifax by video.
“I’m not opposed to the matter being heard in Sydney,” Mancini said. “I understand the Crown’s position.
“It’s more a question of timing. As I said, we’re flexible, so long as we’re not running too far down the road.”
Associate Chief Justice Patrick Duncan agreed with the Crown that the bail hearing should be held in Sydney and offered counsel several potential dates between Aug. 23 and Sept. 23.
In the end, Aug. 24 and 25 were chosen for the hearing. Justice Frank Hoskins, who was recently appointed to the Supreme Court bench after 13 years as a provincial court judge, will travel from Halifax to hear the application.
Joey Frederick Evong, 39, of Sydney is also charged with first-degree murder in Rose’s killing. Evong’s jury trial in Sydney is scheduled April 4-27, 2022, right before Macdonald’s trial. He has not applied for bail.