Direct indictment issued in Laura Babcock murder case

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.

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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.

5 thoughts on “Direct indictment issued in Laura Babcock murder case

  1. We’re not getting a lot in the news these days about the many cases involving Millard, Smich and Noudga, in part because of the publication bans. Thank you so much for the update. My question is, is it possible for there to be a publication ban on all of the information in the Bosma case until after the other cases are settled? I am trying to get a sense of when we are going to hear the truth of this situation. Can everything be kept secret for years, or do the publication bans elapse as each trial finishes? What about the people who testify – will their identities be made public, or held in secrecy for years if not forever?

  2. Another question from the web, Ann. 7/16/2014, when the direct indictment for the Bosma case was announced, CHCH-TV published an article naming Dean Paquette as Millard’s defense lawyer.

    http://www.chch.com/millard-smitch-will-go-straight-trial/

    Paquette was quoted as saying, “This isn’t the kind of case that ordering a preliminary hearing advantages the defense as much. It’s largely what the police find, where they find it, DNA, evidence that relates to the discovery of incriminating materials that will be used by the prosecution. It’s not witness testimony where the cross examination of those witnesses will be critical.”

    We haven’t heard a lot about the nature of the evidence in the case, so Paquette’s comments are interesting. At the same time, I’ve never heard his name in relation to Millard before.

    Is Paquette indeed a member of Millard’s defense team, or did CHCH-TV erroneously credit some lawyer asked for comment as being Millard’s lawyer?

    • That looks like a mistake to me although Paquette has popped up in the courtroom at some of the pre-trial motions, so who knows?

      Millard had a lot of lawyers on the payroll at one time — and still has at least two that I know of.

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