Court to decide if one jury or two needed in murder trial of Matthew Raymond

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

A hearing will begin Aug. 17 to determine if a Fredericton man accused of four counts of first-degree murder is fit to stand trial, but a judge still needs to decide whether the courts need to find one jury or two.

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: New Brunswick denies request for judge-alone hearing for Matthew Raymond

Defence lawyer Nathan Gorham wants just one jury and a short delay of a few days after the fitness hearing before the start of the trial.

Crown attorney Claude Hache wants the trial to begin September 28 with a separate jury, allowing prosecutors to prepare their case and witnesses who have to come from out of province to self-isolate for 14 days.

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Justice Fred Ferguson says he’ll decide quickly because the courts need time to issue summons to a potentially large jury pool if there were to be just one jury.

In court Monday, Ferguson raised concerns on what impact the COVID-19 pandemic could have on people serving on a jury, and being able to ensure a full jury remains in place until the end of the trial.

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