A camera will not be allowed inside an Edmonton courtroom Monday when the judge in Travis Vader‘s double murder trial hears a mistrial application in the case.
Justice Denny Thomas made the decision Friday afternoon not to allow a camera inside the courtroom next week when he is expected to make a decision on whether to declare a mistrial.
Thomas said his decision centred largely around the uncertainty of what his final decision regarding the mistrial will be and when he’ll render it. He said Monday will mainly consist of oral arguments rather than a scripted summary like he delivered the last time a camera was allowed inside.
“Applications of this sort are always discretionary,” Edmonton lawyer Fred Kozak said. “Discretion is exercised based on evidence. The judge found that there wasn’t sufficient evidence to warrant having a camera in for the mistrial verdict.”
Kozak said he was not surprised by the judge’s decision.
“He said at the beginning of his decision that he anticipated that, unlike the verdict, which was televised, this would not be scripted, that it may or may not be an oral decision. It might be a decision in writing that dealt with legal issues rather than evidentiary or factual findings, and for that reason he exercised his discretion not to allow the camera.”
In an unprecedented move last month, Thomas also allowed a camera inside the courtroom when he found Vader guilty of two counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of St. Albert couple Lyle and Marie McCann.
During that decision, however, Thomas cited an outdated section of the Criminal Code, which led Vader’s lawyer to file a motion for a mistrial.
Last week, the Alberta Crown said it was opposed to the idea of a camera in the courtroom during the mistrial decision Monday.
A media consortium, which includes Global News, applied earlier this month to have the camera present.
Kozak said the judge’s decision Friday will not stop media from making further applications to have cameras in the courtroom.
“I think that this was an assessment of the evidence in support of this application and each decision will be decided on its own merits.”
The McCanns were last seen while on a road trip on July 3, 2010. Their burned out motorhome was discovered a few days later. Their bodies have not been found.