Dellen Millard and Mark Smich appeared in Toronto court today to case to address administrative matters related to a direct indictment issued in the Laura Babcock murder case in late August.
Both Millard and Smich are pleading not guilty to the murder of Babcock, which occurred on or around July 3 and 4, 2012. Further details cannot yet be revealed due to a temporary publication ban. They were charged in April 2014.
When a direct indictment is issued by the attorney general, it means there is no preliminary hearing and the case goes straight to trial.
Millard and Smich also faced a direct indictment in the Tim Bosma murder case, which will go to trial in January 2016. At the time it was granted in the summer of 2014, Millard’s lawyer Ravin Pillay, told the Globe and Mail, he felt the move was against his client’s interests and “encumber(ed) the ability to make a full answer in defence” because without a preliminary hearing, he would not have an opportunity to test the prosecution’s case.
Not all criminal defence lawyers agree with that assessment. As much as a preliminary hearing gives the defence a dry run, it can also give the Crown a look at the accused’s trial strategy. Millard’s ex-girlfriend Christina Noudga, who is charged as an accessory after the fact in the Bosma murder, has chosen, for example, to go direct to trial skipping her preliminary hearing.
Millard, Smich and Noudga are all pleading not guilty in the Bosma case. In addition Millard is pleading not guilty to the 2012 murder of his father Wayne Millard. None of the allegations in any of the cases have been proven in court.
Direct indictments are fairly unusual in Ontario and tend to be used in high-profile cases.
There is no trial date yet scheduled for the Laura Babcock case. It will likely be late 2016 or early 2017.