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Justice
Yellowknife

Crown concerned over delays in Breanna Menacho murder case


The Crown wants a jury trial for the man accused of murdering Breanna Menacho to happen in the summer or fall of 2022, an NWT Supreme Court judge heard.

Devon Larabie is accused of killing the 22-year-old on the night of May 5, 2020, during a gathering in his Lanky Court apartment in Yellowknife.

On Monday, prosecutor Blair McPherson made a point of noting a series of delays in the case against Larabie. McPherson reminded Chief Justice Louise Charbonneau that the so-called Jordan framework – which assesses whether an accused is tried within a reasonable time – sets 30 months as the limit in Supreme Court.

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Nearly 18 months have passed since Larabie was charged.

“Our concern is delay,” McPherson said as Larabie, 28, watched via video link from the North Slave Correctional Complex.

“We’re looking at mid-fall 2022 when the clock is up.”

Larabie is now on his third lawyer, Scott Cowan, since first appearing in court. The Toronto lawyer, appearing by phone, told Charbonneau he only received disclosure from the Crown in late August and early September but is prepared to move forward with a pre-trial conference next month.

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Charbonneau will speak with the Crown and defence privately on November 16 to begin arranging such matters as expert witnesses, Charter motions, and admission of agreed facts.

McPherson said the trial could take up to seven weeks, depending on the number of admissions made by Larabie, if any.

Delays in court proceedings across the NWT are mounting after the initial pandemic-related slowdown in the late spring of 2020. This fall’s fresh Covid-19 outbreak has led to the suspension of trials in Territorial Court and delays on a case-by-case basis in Supreme Court.

There hasn’t been a jury trial in the NWT since before the pandemic began. There are currently 85 such trials pending.

Last December, two people pleaded guilty to their role as accessories after the fact in the murder of Menacho. Jordan Nande and Lisa Brule were each sentenced to 10 months in jail.

Larabie is separately accused of carrying out a knifepoint robbery at Yellowknife’s Circle K gas station in March 2020. Chargs of robbery and possessing a weapon for a dangerous purpose remain before the court with his next appearance scheduled for January 12, 2022.

Larabie is presumed innocent of all charges unless proven guilty in court.

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