Yet another twist has occurred in the Douglas Hales murder trial.
Hales is on trial for first-degree murder in the death of 25-year-old Daleen Bosse of Onion Lake Cree Nation who was last seen in May 2004.
The Saskatoon trial wrapped up at the end of June and Justice Gerald Allbright was supposed render a ruling on Aug. 29.
However, the decision has now been delayed based on a recent Supreme Court ruling.
In a decision last month, the nation’s highest court overturned the murder conviction of a Newfoundland man who had been the target of a Mr. Big undercover police sting operation.
The Supreme Court decision has wide ramifications and means cases using Mr. Big methods must now meet a higher threshold if the prosecution wants to use witness statements as admissible evidence.
In Mr. Big operations, undercover officers typically set up a bogus criminal organization and lure the target in with promises of big money payouts, friendship and acceptance.
The operation often ends with the target making a confession to a fake Mr. Big crime boss.
RCMP officers relied heavily on Mr. Big techniques in order to solicit a murder confession out of Hales in 2008.
Crown and defence will now meet on Aug. 29 to makes submissions based on the Supreme Court ruling.
Crown prosecutor Matt Miazga says the case against Hales is still as strong as it was before the ruling but it will now just have to be argued in terms of the Supreme Court decision.
“I think the issues that were raised by the Supreme Court, as I mentioned, were precisely the issues that were argued in this case at great length by both myself and Mr. Hrycan (Hales’ lawyer) but the court has to now apply this new rule of evidence to those issues,” he says.
He adds it is not uncommon for the rules of evidence to change in the midst of a case and it is just something the prosecution will have to deal with.
A decade has now passed since Daleen Bosse went missing and the case went to court.
Police didn’t charge Hales until 2008 and it took another six years for the case to go to trial as he changed or fired a number of lawyers.
Miazga says the latest delay has certainly added to the frustration of friends and family of Bosse.
“Obviously it’s hard for them to realize now that this case isn’t going to have a decision on Aug. 29, that it’s going to be weeks or months until that day comes. So, it’s disheartening for them. I think the words they used, ‘They felt like it was a punch in the gut,’ if I can quote them in relation to the fact that the case isn’t going to be finished on the twenty-ninth.”
Both sides in the case also met briefly on Monday morning at Court of Queen’s Bench in Saskatoon.