New Brunswick mass shooting trial on hold until Tuesday due to 'unexpected' issue

FREDERICTON — The murder trial for a Fredericton man charged in the 2018 fatal shootings of four people has been put on hold until next week.

Justice Larry Landry of the Court of Queen's Bench told the 12-person jury Wednesday that the parties need to discuss "unexpected" issues before Matthew Raymond's trial can resume.

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Raymond faces four counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Fredericton Police constables Robb Costello and Sara Burns as well as civilians Donnie Robichaud and Bobbie Lee Wright, on Aug. 10, 2018.

"Sometimes there are unexpected things or issues that comes during a trial that needs the court and the parties to discuss," Landry said. "We will adjourn the trial and the hearing of the evidence until later."

On Tuesday, lawyers for Raymond acknowledged their client shot and killed the four people but they said he is not criminally responsible because of a mental disorder. Raymond was delusional and paranoid at the time of the crimes, his lawyers allege.

Raymond pleaded not guilty to the charges on Tuesday. For the rest of that day's hearing he sat quietly inside the convention centre ballroom that has been converted into a courtroom to allow for physical distancing.

The province has said Raymond's trial will be the first full jury trial in Canada since the COVID-19 pandemic. Prosecutors say the killings were planned and deliberate, and they plan to call 39 witnesses during the trial, which is expected to last four weeks.

Jurors on Tuesday heard opening statements and reviewed some of the evidence that will be presented during the trial, such as the SKS semi-automatic rifle and the shotgun that were seized from Raymond's apartment.

The jury has been asked to return Tuesday morning at 9:30 a.m.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 16, 2020.

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