HAMILTON, Ont. – A lawyer for one of two men facing murder charges in the mysterious death of a Hamilton father warned against a rush to judgement Thursday after the pair appeared briefly in court to have their cases put over until August.
Dellen Millard and Mark Smich, both wearing orange prison jumpsuits, said little during their separate video appearances in a Hamilton court where they were remanded into custody until Aug 1.
By that date, their lawyers said they hope to receive disclosure from the Crown.
Millard and Smich both plan to plead not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of Tim Bosma, who disappeared May 6 after taking two men on a test drive of a truck he was trying to sell online.
Bosma’s remains were found about a week later burned beyond recognition at a southwestern Ontario farm belonging to Millard.
Millard is also charged with forcible confinement and theft of a vehicle in relation to Bosma’s death.
Millard’s lawyer, Deepak Paradkar, urged those observing the case to allow it to play out in the courts.
“There shouldn’t be a rush to judgement. Often cases appear to be much stronger than they are initially,” he said outside court.
“I say step back, wait for everything to unfold at trial and just give a fair hearing to Mr. Millard.”
Paradkar said Millard was being kept in isolation at the Hamilton Detention Centre, an arrangement which had been tough on his client.
“He is locked up for 23 and a half hours a day. So he’s not out of his cell and that’s pretty tough for anybody,” he said.
“I think he’s getting accustomed to his environment and he has to just mentally prepare for the long road ahead.”
On Aug. 1, Paradkar hopes to be able to set dates for Millard’s preliminary hearing.
It’s still unclear if Millard and Smich will be tried together.
It’s also not yet known if Millard will be applying for bail. Paradkar said that was an option, but the strength of the Crown’s case had to be first assessed.
“With the way things are going, this speed, we could be in court next June for a preliminary hearing and we could be in trial late fall next year,” he added.
Police have said Millard and Smich know each other but wouldn’t say how.
Court records show Smich, 25, has five previous convictions, including two for drug possession in 2005 and 2006, two of failing to comply in 2006 and one impaired driving conviction in 2008.
He is also facing a charge of mischief for allegedly spray-painting a highway overpass with graffiti.
Police allege Millard and Smich are the two men Bosma took for a test drive.
Bosma’s cellphone was found in an industrial area of the neighbouring city of Brantford three days after he disappeared.
Police believe Bosma was killed the same night he went missing, though they haven’t yet said if he was killed in the truck, on the farm where his remains were found, or elsewhere.
As many as 120 investigators worked on the case, executing more than 15 search warrants and production orders and following up on more than 700 tips.
After Millard’s arrest, Toronto police reopened their investigations into Millard’s father’s death – which had been ruled a suicide – and the disappearance of Laura Babcock, a Toronto woman Millard was romantically linked with.
Paradkar said the death of Millard’s father isn’t considered a criminal matter and added that any connection between Millard and Babcock’s disappearance was “utter speculation.”