Murder case adjourned until October
STEVE BRUCE SALTWIRE NETWORK firstname.lastname@example.org @Steve_Courts
Two people accused of murdering a Hants County man in May 2020 have had their charges adjourned until October while their lawyers wait for a “voluminous” amount of evidence to be disclosed by police. Rebecca Elizabeth Moir, 37, of Five Islands, Colchester County, and Brandon Michael Doucette, 28, of L’Ardoise, Richmond County, are jointly charged with second-degree murder, criminal negligence causing death, possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose and unauthorized possession of a firearm. Moir faces an additional charge of breaching a firearms prohibition, while Doucette is accused of discharging a firearm and pointing a firearm. RCMP arrested four people this May in connection with the May 24, 2020, death of Robert Campbell, 51, of Falmouth. Police responded early that morning to a home invasion on Ridge Road in Melanson, Kings County. Suspects were seen leaving the area in a grey van. At about 7 a.m. that same day, Campbell’s body was found in a burnedout van in St. Croix, Hants County, that matched the description of the vehicle involved in the home invasion. The charges against Moir and Doucette were back in Kentville provincial court last week for the purpose of setting dates for a preliminary inquiry. But defence lawyers Ken Greer, who represents Moir, and Scot Stanfield told the judge it would be premature to set dates until they receive full disclosure of the evidence against their clients. “There are significant pieces of information on the forensic side that were not included or even mentioned in the materials we’ve been given so far,” Greer said. “We really do need to get a greater picture of the matter before it can be set down.” Stanfield, Doucette’s lawyer, echoed Greer’s comments. “This is a significant matter and there’s significant disclosure that has not been delivered,” Stanfield said. “We can’t even begin to consider the appropriate amount of time required for a preliminary inquiry until we know what it is that the Crown is alleging.” Crown attorney Dan Rideout said he appreciates the defence lawyers’ concerns. He said a considerable amount of the “voluminous” evidence has already been disclosed to them, but “there’s much more to come.” Rideout said he’s been informed by police that about a terabyte of material was generated during the year-long investigation. “I haven’t encountered this amount of disclosure before,” he said. The prosecutor estimated four days will be needed for a preliminary inquiry, but Greer suggested it will more likely be in the range of two weeks. Assuming the defence lawyers receive the disclosure soon, Greer said they won’t be ready until at least early October to set dates. Judge Ronda Van der Hoek scheduled the matter to return to court Oct. 12. She said court time is tight and by then, lawyers could be looking at not getting dates for the preliminary inquiry until late 2022. She encouraged counsel to contact court administration once they know how much time will be needed for the hearing, which will determine if there is sufficient evidence to proceed to trial in Nova Scotia Supreme Court. Lawyers will also see if the hearing could be held any sooner in Halifax. Moir and Doucette remain in custody. They will have to make an application in Supreme Court if they want bail. Two Kings County men — Darroll Murray Atwell, 42, of Robinson Corner and Devyn Adam Dennis, 27, of Bishopville — are charged with being an accessory after the fact to murder, break and enter with intent to commit an indictable offence, interfering with human remains and arson. Those charges are due back in provincial court Aug. 3. Atwell and Dennis were both granted bail in Supreme Court.