Fredericton shootings trial delayed after lawyer reveals COVID-19 signs

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Fredericton shootings trial delayed after lawyer shows COVID-19 symptoms

HALIFAX —
The trial of Matthew Vincent Raymond, who is accused of shooting and killing four people in Fredericton in August 2018, has been delayed again after a lawyer involved in the trial showed symptoms of COVID-19.

The jury was expecting to hear a fourth day of testimony on Friday. Instead, Justice Larry Landry told the court that a lawyer was getting tested for COVID-19 after experiencing symptoms.

If the test comes back negative, the trial is expected to resume Monday morning.

It’s yet another delay for a difficult trial being held during difficult times.

New Brunswick’s court services has taken many precautions to ensure the trial can go ahead during the pandemic. The general public is not allowed to attend proceedings, while media, family members and the jury all sit at least six feet apart.

But Ross Gorman, the regional director of court services, says he isn’t certain what the next steps will be if someone involved in the trial tests positive for COVID-19.

“That’s unknown right now. That’s unchartered territory and I guess we’ll just have to address that situation in concert with public safety should that, in fact, come to fruition,” says Gorman.

“I’m not so certain we’ve figured it out. We’re figuring it out as it plays out on a day-by-day basis.”

Raymond, 50, is charged with four counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Donnie Robichaud, Bobbie Lee Wright and Fredericton police constables Robb Costello and Sara Burns.

During the trial, Raymond’s defence lawyers told the court that their client shot and killed two police officers and two civilians on Aug. 10, 2018, but they said he is not criminally responsible due to a mental disorder.

Friday should have marked Day 9 of the murder trial but, so far, only three days of testimony have been heard.

The court has learned more about the events of that morning, when Raymond opened fire from the window of his apartment — a fact agreed upon by both the Crown and defence.

Dozens of exhibits have been entered into evidence, including the police vests belonging to Costello and Burns, and the firearms used in the shootings.

There are also dozens of paper covered with calculations and words like “serpent” and “33.3” taken from Raymond’s apartment.

Some of the most difficult testimony was heard Thursday, when Fredericton police Sgt. Jason Forward told the court he thought he would be next when he saw Costello and Burns on the ground.