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‘Other developments’ pending?

Ernie Ross Duggan of Bayhead, who is charged with first-degree murder, is seen being escorted by Sherrif's deputies towards an elevator enroute to a courtroom on the second floor of the Nova Scotia Supreme Court building Truro Wednesday morning.
Ernie Ross Duggan of Bayhead, who is charged with first-degree murder, is seen being escorted by Sherrif's deputies towards an elevator enroute to a courtroom on the second floor of the Nova Scotia Supreme Court building Truro Wednesday morning. - Harry Sullivan

Crown/defence attorneys holding discussions in first-degree murder case against Bayhead man

TRURO, N.S. – A Bayhead man charged with first-degree murder will return to court June 21 for the anticipated conclusion of discussions between the Crown and defence attorneys that could lead to “other developments.”
Ernie Ross (Junior) Duggan, 51, of Bayhead, is charged with killing his neighbour, 58-year-old Susan Butlin on Sept. 17, 2017.
His trial is slated to begin Sept. 16 in Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Truro.
Following a brief hearing Wednesday morning, co-Crown Terry Borden said while the trial dates remain intact, other “avenues” are being discussed with Duggan’s defence attorneys.
“Hopefully we’ll be in a better position next Friday than we are today,” he said.
Wednesday’s session had originally been scheduled as a continuance of a voir dire hearing that began in late May but Hunt acknowledged it had to been changed to a status update involving “… other developments, to be advised.”
“I can advise my Lord that we have been in active discussions with the Crown that are not yet finalized,” said co-defence lawyer Stephanie Hillson.
“It sounds like your discussions are active and it’s worth holding off on continuing these voir dires, is that what I am hearing?” Justice Jeffery Hunt asked.
That information was confirmed.
Duggan had previously waived his right to a preliminary inquiry.
Butlin, of Clarkes Road, died after being shot in her home during the late hours of Sept. 17, 2017. Her body was found in her home, just before midnight, after police responded to a 911 call from the residence.
She had previously taken out a peace bond application against Duggan but a provincial court judge asked the Crown to have the RCMP take a closer look at the file during a hearing on that application.
Following Butlin’s death, the RCMP pursued Duggan to Lockerbie Cemetery in Tatamagouche where an exchange of gunfire took place that resulted in him being wounded.
Charges against Duggan of the attempted murder of several RCMP officers were subsequently dropped.
The June 21 hearing is set for 1:30 p.m.

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