Joyce elects Supreme Court trial by judge and jury in deaths of two Lark Harbour relatives

Published on April 18, 2017

Walter Alfred Joyce during an appearance in provincial court in Corner Brook.

©Western Star file photo

Walter Alfred Joyce has elected to be tried in Newfoundland Supreme Court on charges of impaired driving causing the death of two of his relatives in Lark Harbour last Boxing Day.

Joyce, 45, was not in provincial court in Corner Brook when the charges against him were called. Instead, his lawyer, Robby Ash, told the court that his client wants to be tried by a judge and jury and that he wants a preliminary inquiry to be held.

Joyce was charged after his sister-in law, Marilyn Sheppard, and her husband, Merle Sheppard, were struck and killed by a pickup truck allegedly driven by him in the early morning hours of Dec. 26. The couple had been walking home from a family gathering.

Joyce, a resident of Fort McMurray, is originally from Lark Harbour and was visiting the town for Christmas.

He was released from custody on Dec. 28 and returned to Fort McMurray.

The charges against him include two counts each of impaired operation of a vehicle causing death by exceeding 80 milligrams and impaired operation of a vehicle causing death.

A date for Joyce’s preliminary hearing will be set on Thursday.

No date has been set for his arraignment in the Supreme Court.