Suspect in historical murder case will have to wait to learn if he’ll be free pending trial

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Cold-case homicide suspect Stephane Parent will learn April 1 whether he’ll be freed on bail pending his September jury trial.

Justice Glenda Campbell heard evidence and submissions from Crown prosecutor Shane Parker and defence lawyer Shamsher Kothari on Friday over whether Parent is a suitable candidate for release, before reserving her decision.

At Kothari’s request, the Court of Queen’s Bench judge ordered a publication ban on the evidence and submissions.

Parent is charged with second-degree murder in the Valentine’s Day death in 2002 of his then-girlfriend, Adrienne McColl.

The body of McColl was found days later in a field outside the town of Nanton, about 90 km south of Calgary.

Parent, 52, was arrested Feb. 17, 2018 at his home in Gatineau, Que., across the Ottawa River from the nation’s capital. He’s been in custody since.

Kothari earlier applied for a judicial stay of the charge arguing Parent had been subjected to an unreasonable delay, but that application was denied.

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Parent was to go to trial last fall, but just a month before jurors were to hear evidence, he had a falling out with his then-lawyer, Jim Lutz, over whether such an application would be worth making.

“Mr. Parent has a different view of the case than our office does,” Lutz told court at the time.

His insistence on making the so-called Jordan application caused an even further delay in the case of nearly a year.

In denying Kothari’s argument Parent was the victim of unreasonable delay, Justice Richard Neufeld said the period between when the accused’s original trial was to take place last April and the re-scheduled hearing in November, was caused by the pandemic.

Neufeld said the COVID-19 outbreak which temporarily shut down jury trials was an exceptional circumstance contemplated by the Supreme Court in the Jordan case.

Parent’s jury trial is now set to begin Sept. 13.

On Twitter: @KMartinCourts

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