Douglas Hales’ murder trial could end in a mistrial
Watch above: Supreme Court ruling could affect outcome of Hales’ trial
SASKATOON – Another delay in the Douglas Hales’ first-degree murder trial that could result in a mistrial.
Arguments on the implications of a Supreme Court of Canada ruling on so-called “Mr. Big” stings will now be made in September.
That exact technique was used in 2008 and led to the arrest of Hales who is accused of killing of Daleen Bosse, a young mother, in May 2004.
On Friday, Justice Allbright granted both sides more time to prepare.
The Crown was hoping to make some submissions but said outside the courthouse its important things are done right the first time so that whatever verdict comes forward will be the final one.
On July 31, a landmark ruling was made by the country’s highest court that would limit police powers.
This after, Nelson Hart, a Newfoundland man, had two first-degree murder charges withdrawn when the Supreme Court ruled Hart’s confession was inadmissible. In 2005, Hart admitted to drowning his twin daughters as part of a “Mr. Big” sting.
“The Supreme Court has fundamentally altered the evidentiary landscape and how you approach Mr. Big trials,” said Bob Hrycan, defence lawyer for Hales.
The Supreme Court ruled that “Mr. Big” sting operations can continue but confessions through this method are no longer admissible unless the Crown can prove otherwise.
In 2008, officers posing as criminals got Hales to confess to Bosse’s murder and lead them to her remains. He was arrested on Aug. 10, 2008, the day after confessing to “Mr. Big”.
“The judge directed us to canvass all options and he has two, one is to re-open the trial which we don’t regard as an appropriate way to resolve this, the second one is to declare a mistrial which in our view is the most just option available to him,” said Hrycan.
If a mistrial were declared, Douglas Hales would get an entirely new trial.
“Our position is when the law changes this significantly and this dramatically it’s almost impossible to revisit the evidentiary landscape of a trial and rejig that to conform to the new law, it’s really difficult and there are risks inherent in doing it,” said Hrycan.
The Crown says it opposes a mistrial which is considered a last resort. Friday was originally slated for the verdict but the Crown says the family understands the delays.
“I think they realize it’s better to wait another few weeks, get things done correctly, have a proper decision then rush through something, come up with a verdict that may not be appeal-proof so to speak and then end up having a new trial a year or two down the road,” said Matthew Miazga, senior Crown prosecutor.
Court is now scheduled to resume Sept. 22. The Crown hopes a verdict in the case will be delivered within the calender year.