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Manslaughter trial for one of seven teens accused of deadly 2022 attack delayed

The Edmonton Law Courts building. (File/CTV News Edmonton) The Edmonton Law Courts building. (File/CTV News Edmonton)

The trial for a teen accused of manslaughter after a group attack on a 16-year-old boy has been adjourned – with no timeline set to resume.

The teen, SM, is one of seven who were charged after the 2022 attack in a field near a school.

None of the youth involved or school can be identified due to the Youth Criminal Justice Act and a publication ban.

Over the past two weeks, the court has heard from several witnesses, including Edmonton police officers, the medical examiner and eyewitnesses.

When the crown closed its case on Wednesday, defence lawyer Brian Beresh informed the court he intended to file an application for "particulars".

In the application, Beresh alleged the crown may have changed its position and was prosecuting his client as a principal offender to the deadly attack instead of a party to.

He wanted clarification on the crown’s position before deciding to call any evidence of their own.

The application was argued Friday morning.

During her ruling, Justice Gillian Marriott said, "There is no change as I can see it in the crown’s position with respect to the accused and these charges."

"Is not appropriate or essential," she said before denying the application.

Justice Marriott then told Beresh he should be ready to present evidence or begin closing arguments an hour later.

There was a somewhat heated exchange when Beresh said he would not be ready and asked for an adjournment.

“I think I’m entitled to think about your decision,” he said.

Justice Mariott asked why, and told the defence lawyer – as senior counsel – should have been prepared to continue no matter what the outcome of his application.

Crown prosecutor Jeff Rudiak was also not in a position to continue when he found out the defence would call evidence, telling the justice it "kind of caught me off guard."

The justice used the term "astounding" a couple of times about the request for more time before granting the adjournment.

While not uncommon for trials to go longer than scheduled, she and the victim’s family expected the trial would wrap up this week.

Justice Marriott made it clear on several occasions she only had two weeks to hear the case.

A cousin of the victim, SS, said she flew to Edmonton early Friday morning to be in court for the end of the trial.

"And it didn’t conclude," SS said. "We’re disheartened, we are now back in that lingering phase of what if and what now," she added.

Another cousin who has been in the courtroom for much of the trial is frustrated with the process.

"It feels like we’re back to square one," MB said.

"It feels like the defence is just playing table tennis with the justice system. It’s like they’re not ready to present their case and so now it’s our feelings that linger and are dragged through the mud over and over and over again," she said.

A date for SM’s trial to resume is expected to be set next week. Top Stories

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