Delay in massacre trial denied

Jurors will begin hearing evidence against one of the alleged suspects in Calgary’s New Year’s Day massacre as scheduled, a judge ruled Tuesday.

Justice Beth Hughes denied a request by defence lawyers to delay the trial of Real Christian Honorio into next year because of a scheduling conflict for one of the counsel.

Defence lawyer Greg Dunn said he isn’t available to represent Honorio in December, when his current trial on three charges of first-degree murder is set to conclude.

Hughes noted Dunn’s main role in the case is to argue the admissibility of certain evidence, something which will be done during preliminary motions before a jury is selected.

The Court of Queen’s Bench judge did allow that portion of the case to be delayed a week, which will give Dunn more time to prepare.

Crown prosecutor Rajbir Dhillon had opposed the application by Dunn and co-counsel Tonii Roulston, arguing it could jeopardize the safety of two witnesses set to testify.

He also said a delay could impact witnesses’ memories, and some might have other things scheduled for when the defence proposed re-setting the trial.

Honorio is one of four people charged in the Jan. 1, 2009, triple slaying of three people in a Calgary restaurant, including gang member Sanjeev Mann.

Mann and an associate, Aaron Bendle, were gunned down inside the Bolsa restaurant on Macleod Tr. S., while a third victim, innocent bystander Keni Su’a, was slain outside.

Two other suspects will have their cases go to a jury starting next Monday, while a third will have his trial date set on Oct. 28.