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Trial dates set for Bayhead man charged with murder

Ernie (Junior) Duggan, charged with first-degree murder in last September's death of his Bayhead neighbour Susan Butlin, is seen being led into Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Truro on Friday. Duggan's five-week judge and jury trial is set to begin next Sept. 16.
Ernie (Junior) Duggan, charged with first-degree murder in last September's death of his Bayhead neighbour Susan Butlin, is seen being led into Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Truro on Friday. Duggan's five-week judge and jury trial is set to begin next Sept. 16. - Harry Sullivan

Jury trial to begin two years after woman’s death

TRURO, N.S. - A five-week judge and jury trial, beginning next September, has been scheduled in Nova Scotia Supreme Court for a Bayhead man charged with first-degree murder.

Ernie Ross (Junior) Duggan, 50, of Bayhead is charged with killing his neighbour, 58-year-old Susan Butlin.

His trial is slated to begin Sept. 16, 2019, one day short of two years after the date of Butlin’s death on Sept. 17, 2017. The trial is set to conclude on Oct. 18.

Two weeks of voir dire hearings have also been set, from April 1 to 5 and 8 to 12, 2019.

Crown attorneys in the case recently made the rare move of cancelling a preliminary inquiry that had been scheduled to begin this fall.

“We felt the public interest would be preserved by proceeding in this fashion,” co-Crown Peter Craig said at after that hearing, citing time delays as one of his areas of concern.

Duggan’s defence attorneys had planned to call as many as 39 witnesses for the preliminary inquiry.

Duggan had also been charged with the attempted murder of RCMP officers related to a shootout that had occurred in a Tatamagouche cemetery shortly after the murder.

Those charges were dropped at the previous hearing and replaced with several others, including: intentionally discharging a firearm while being reckless as to the life of another person; possessing a weapon for purpose dangerous to public peace, occupying a motor vehicle while knowing it contained a firearm and possessing a firearm without a license.

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