Dellen Millard’s mistrial request dismissed as jury continues deliberations in Babcock trial
TORONTO — A judge has dismissed a mistrial request from a man accused of killing a former lover and burning her body as a jury continues to deliberate on a verdict in the case.
Dellen Millard, who is representing himself, had argued that the lawyer of his co-accused, Mark Smich, crossed the line in his closing address to the jury when he purportedly blamed Millard for the death of Laura Babcock.
The judge presiding over the case says Smich’s counsel simply pointed at the evidence brought forth by the Crown during the eight-week trial.
The Crown alleges Millard and Smich killed Babcock in the summer of 2012 because she was the odd woman out in a love triangle with Millard and his girlfriend.
They contend the pair covered up their crime by burning Babcock’s remains in an animal incinerator. Babcock’s body has not been found.
Both Millard and Smich have pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in Babcock’s presumed death.
Smich’s lawyer, Thomas Dungey, told the jury that if they conclude that Babcock is dead and her death was caused by an unlawful act then Millard was the principal offender — he had the opportunity, a motive and bought a gun the day before the 23-year-old Toronto woman vanished.
Millard argued he should have been given advance notice of Smich’s “antagonistic” position from the outset.
Both Millard and Smich had said in pretrial motions that they did not intend to put forth a “cut-throat” defence, where two accused blame each other for an alleged crime.
Millard said Smich changed his position during Dungey’s closing address, and called it “an unfair ambush” and a “surprise attack.”
Justice Michael Code said it was well within Dungey’s rights to take the position he did in his closing address.
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