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Lawyers seek judge-alone hearings for accused in Fredericton shootings

Matthew Vincent Raymond is taken from Court of Queen's Bench in Fredericton on Friday, March 13, 2020. The trial for Raymond, accused of killing two police officers and two civilians in the New Brunswick capital last year, is still an uncertainty as the state of his mental health is being considered. The province is also is suspending jury trials for two months over concerns about the potential spread of novel coronavirus. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan.
Matthew Vincent Raymond is taken from Court of Queen's Bench in Fredericton on Friday, March 13, 2020. The trial for Raymond, accused of killing two police officers and two civilians in the New Brunswick capital last year, is still an uncertainty as the state of his mental health is being considered. The province is also is suspending jury trials for two months over concerns about the potential spread of novel coronavirus. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

Lawyers for a Fredericton man accused of four counts of first-degree murder are seeking constitutional relief so that a fitness hearing and subsequent trial could be heard by a judge alone.

Matthew Raymond is accused of killing civilians Donnie Robichaud and Bobbie Lee Wright, and Fredericton Police constables Robb Costello and Sara Burns, on Aug. 10, 2018.

READ MORE: Hearing for man accused of killing four people in Fredericton in doubt

Last October, a jury found Raymond unfit to stand trial, but since then psychiatrists have said he has responded to medication and could be put on trial, which prompted the courts to schedule a “re-fitness hearing.”

Defence lawyer Nathan Gorham wants both the fitness hearing and any potential trial to be heard by judge alone, given a temporary hold on jury trials in the province.

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The Crown has questioned whether the court even has jurisdiction to hear such an argument, so a hearing on that question is set for March 27.

Click to play video 'Man accused in Fredericton shootings now mentally fit to stand trial' Man accused in Fredericton shootings now mentally fit to stand trial
Man accused in Fredericton shootings now mentally fit to stand trial – Jan 6, 2020

Court of Queen’s Bench Chief Justice Tracey Deware has suspended trials for at least two months because of concerns over the spread of the novel coronavirus.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 17, 2020.