Tells Toronto court he will defend himself on Laura Babcock murder charges
Jan. 29 Update: This post has been updated to remove an inaccuracy in the original version about the reasons for the Babcock trial delay. Information on the Wayne Millard preliminary hearing was also updated to take into account the fact that the hearing has taken place.
After spending months in court in Hamilton attending pre-trial motions for their upcoming trial for the murder of Tim Bosma, Dellen Millard and Mark Smich put in a brief appearance yesterday at superior court in Toronto, where they are eventually slated to be tried for the murder of Laura Babcock.
Millard, who had no counsel present, told the court he will defend himself.
The Babcock trial, which was originally
set pencilled in for September of 2016, has now been postponed to early 2017 due largely to difficulty finding a time slot in the various attorneys’ schedules.
Millard and Smich are both pleading not guilty to the first degree murders of Tim Bosma in 2013 and Laura Babcock in 2012. In addition, Millard is pleading not guilty to the 2012 murder of his father, Wayne Millard. A preliminary hearing for the patricide case was held in early January right after the holidays and just before jury selection began in the Bosma trial on January 18, 2016. The judge will deliver her decision on whether the case will proceed to trial on March 4.
Millard also noted he is having trouble getting access to the disclosure material he needs for the Babcock case.
Justice John McMahon strongly advised Millard more than once to get a lawyer. Although he made clear that the decision was ultimately Millard’s, he said: “I haven’t seen a lot of first degree murder charges” where self-represented defendants succeed.
“I do think it’s in your best interests to get a lawyer.”
This is the only one of the three trials where Millard has decided to go it alone. He will be represented by Toronto lawyer Ravin Pillay at the Bosma trial. Hamilton lawyer Peter Boushy acted as his counsel at the preliminary hearing for his father’s murder.
“I have an issue at the Hamilton jail with getting access to the disclosure on Laura Babcock material,” Millard said, adding that he is unable to view the CDs and DVDs provided by the prosecution.
When asked by the judge if she wanted to raise any issues, Assistant Crown Attorney Jill Cameron said she had no objections and wasn’t familiar with procedures and policies at the Barton Street jail officially known as the Hamilton Wentworth Detention Centre.
As the judge looked at the forms filled out by the accused, Millard, who was wearing a blue and white striped shirt and ill-fitting jeans, said from the prisoner’s box, “Forgive the handwriting your honour.”
The judge replied that it was clearer than his. Then for the record, he stated, “The court orders Dellen Millard full and unfettered access to the CDs and DVDs in the Laura Babcock matter.”
While Millard sat in the prisoner’s box, his co-accused Mark Smich was placed in an empty jury seat. He wore a bright blue v-neck sweater over a collared shirt and denim pants without the traditional jean stitching. When questioned on a minor housekeeping matter, he responded, “I have no problem with that.”
Smich is represented by Toronto lawyer Tom Dungey in both the Bosma and Babcock cases.
Millard arrived late for court after a brief overnight stay at the Toronto South Detention Centre aka the super jail. It has been plagued with problems since its opening in 2014 and prisoner transportation is frequently delayed causing a domino effect of court delays. Justice McMahon also made a statement on the record about how the Toronto South issues were negatively affecting court functions.
Smich is in custody at the Toronto East Detention Centre.