New trial needed in fatal Red Deer stabbing case

By Sheldon Spackman
January 10, 2019 - 6:43pm Updated: January 11, 2019 - 10:18am

A new trial will be scheduled for a man charged in a fatal stabbing in north Red Deer over three years ago.

This after Justice Bill Hopkins announced in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench Thursday that he was ‘No longer in a position to hear any further evidence’ following the mistrial of 34-year-old Daniel Boyd Sawyer which Hopkins declared on Monday.

Sawyer is charged with second-degree murder in the death of 31-year-old Alan Beach who suffered multiple injuries during a fight with another man outside the Blarney Stone Pub & Restaurant at the Village Mall on Nov. 18, 2015.

Justice Hopkins discharged the remaining 10 jurors in the case on Monday after the mistrial was declared.

The next day, both Crown and defence jointly requested Hopkins to consider whether he was ‘functus officio’ or ‘of no further official authority or legal effect’ because of the mistrial.

On Thursday, Hopkins agreed, stating in court, “I concur with counsel that I lack jurisdiction to continue.”

Sawyer’s trial was originally scheduled to run from Nov. 13 – Dec. 7, 2018. However, several voir dire hearings, often described as a trial within a trial to determine the admissibility of evidence, caused significant delays leading to a mistrial.

Just four days of witness testimony took place over 30 days of trial time.

Sawyer’s case will now return for arraignment February 4.

Defence lawyer Chris Archer hopes to move the new trial to Calgary where he feels expedited trial dates could be found within a year and not have to wait up to two years for possible trial dates in Red Deer.

Archer says he intends to file both a Jordan application and Abuse of Process application once the new trial is set, further pointing out any rulings made during the first trial would carry forward into the second.

Asked if he anticipates any voir dire delays in the second trial, Archer responded, “You never know.”

Sawyer remains in custody at the Red Deer Remand Centre.

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