A man charged after the death of a conservation officer south of Saskatoon earlier this year is now facing a charge of manslaughter.

Prosecutors announced the additional charge when 35-year-old Blaine Taypotat appeared in Saskatoon Provincial Court this morning.

He was already facing a number of charges including dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, criminal negligence and impaired driving — all causing death.

Taypotat’s lawyer Don Worme says it appears likely the Crown has upgraded the severity of its charges against his client because the case involves the death of a conservation officer.

“I think that clearly this new charge is no doubt instigated by the fact that the victim was a peace officer,” he says.

He adds his client is eager to move the trial forward after almost two months in custody but as of yet has not been given an opportunity to enter a plea while the Crown builds its case.

Taypotat remains in custody and is back in court on August 21.

He was arrested after the death of 23-year-old Justin Knackstedt on May 31.

Knackstedt was directing traffic on Highway 11 after an accident when he was hit by another vehicle.

Police say Taypotat fled the scene and was later arrested.