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Judge orders release of information in trial of Leitches Creek couple

Cape Breton court
Cape Breton court - SaltWire File Photo
SYDNEY, N.S. —

A provincial court judge has ordered the Crown to turn over all requested documentation sought by a defence lawyer representing a couple charged under the provincial Liquor Control Act.

Kenneth Raymond Wilkie, 52, and Donna Lorraine Wilkie, 49, of Leitches Creek, are each charged with permitting drunkenness on their property last June.

The offence is alleged to have occurred June 10, 2018, in Leitches Creek where the Wilkies hosted a high school graduation party that was reportedly attended by some 500 people, mostly teens.

Nathan Joneil Hanna, 17, who had attended the gathering, died after being struck by a vehicle driven by Hayden Kenneth Laffin, 21, who also attended the party.

Laffin is charged with obstruction of justice and is awaiting a provincial court judge’s decision after a preliminary hearing on the charge. The decision is expected in June.

During a provincial court appearance Monday, prosecutor John MacDonald said the Crown is no longer seeking to have one trial for the Wilkies, noting the outcome of one will have an impact on the second.

As a result, the first trial to proceed will be for Kenneth Wilkie, scheduled to begin Sept. 9.

MacDonald admitted that some information sought by defence lawyer Ralph Ripley had not been disclosed but added the information is ready for release.

Among the information sought by the defence are emails and other communications between police and Crown dealing with discussions on the charge to be filed in the Wilkie case.

Also, the defence is seeking similar disclosure made to Laffin’s defence lawyer, arguing that both cases involve many of the same witnesses.

MacDonald said the Crown could comply within 21 days but Judge Peter Ross ordered that information from the Laffin case be released within seven days.

Ripley said the defence has been waiting for eight months for the release of requested information.

Both the Crown and defence are now to return to court May 22 to provide an update on disclosure.

RELATED: 

• Bras d’Or man charged in connection with death of Joneil Hanna appears in court

• Three charged in Leitches Creek fatality

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