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Judge reserves decision on jurisdiction in Fredericton shooting case

Matthew Vincent Raymond, charged with four counts of first degree murder, is taken from provincial court in Fredericton, N.B., on December 11, 2018.
Matthew Vincent Raymond, charged with four counts of first degree murder, is taken from provincial court in Fredericton, N.B., on December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

A Fredericton judge is expected to rule by April 3 on whether he has jurisdiction to hear a request for constitutional relief so that a fitness hearing for a man accused of four counts of first-degree murder can be heard by 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.

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, prompting the courts to schedule a “re-fitness hearing.”

READ MORE: Lawyers seek judge-alone hearings for accused in Fredericton shootings

Defence lawyer Nathan Gorham wants the hearing heard by judge alone, but the Crown argues that until there is a finding of fitness, Justice Fred Ferguson doesn’t have jurisdiction.

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Friday’s hearing was unique as a result of COVID-19 concerns, with lawyers, the accused, and even reporters participating by conference call with the judge in the courtroom.

Man accused in Fredericton shootings now mentally fit to stand trial
Man accused in Fredericton shootings now mentally fit to stand trial

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 27, 2020.