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Final arguments set in trial over death of toddler found at north Edmonton church

WATCH ABOVE: One of two people accused in the death of an Edmonton toddler was back in court on Monday. As Sarah Kraus reports, time is now of the essence in the case.

Final arguments have been set for September in a murder trial for a woman accused in the death of a toddler found outside an Edmonton church.

Tasha-Lee Doreen Mack and the child’s father, Joey Crier, are charged with second-degree murder in the April 2017 death of 19-month old Anthony Joseph Raine.

The toddler’s body was found outside the Good Shepherd Anglican Church in north Edmonton, where the remains had allegedly been left three days earlier.

Crier is to go to trial on Oct. 7.

READ MORE: Pair charged in death of toddler found near Edmonton church to have separate trials

Tasha Mack is seen in this police handout photo provided as evidence by the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta.
Tasha Mack is seen in this police handout photo provided as evidence by the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta. Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta

Mack’s trial heard Monday that her statement to police cannot be used as evidence.

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Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Rob Graesser says it would be unfair to allow prosecutors to use the statement because it was introduced on the eve of trial.

Neither the Crown nor the defence are to call any additional evidence, so final arguments have been set for Sept. 20.

READ MORE: Murder trial hears toddler found outside Edmonton church had head trauma, bruises

“We will be taking the position that the Crown simply hasn’t proven the guilt of Ms. Mack — proof beyond a reasonable doubt,” defence lawyer Ajay Juneja said outside court.

He said Monday’s decision by the judge was significant but that the statement isn’t overly important to his client’s case.

“There were certain things said in that statement that could properly be construed in favour of the prosecution,” said Juneja. “But there was no confession or nothing overwhelmingly conclusive of guilt or innocence in the statement.”

READ MORE: Woman pleads not guilty in death of toddler left outside Edmonton church