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Philip Butler’s preliminary inquiry begins

Philip Butler, 36, sits in provincial court in St. John's Monday morning, awaiting the start of his preliminary hearing. He's charged with murdering his brother, George Allan Butler, last May 24 weekend.
Philip Butler, 36, sits in provincial court in St. John's Monday morning, awaiting the start of his preliminary hearing. He's charged with murdering his brother, George Allan Butler, last May 24 weekend. - Tara Bradbury

Man charged with murdering his brother

The preliminary inquiry of a man accused of killing his brother last May 24th weekend got underway in provincial court in St. John's Monday morning.

Philip Butler, 36, wore a three-piece suit and handcuffs as he was escorted into a mostly empty courtroom for the first day of the inquiry. Over the course of eight days, Judge James Walsh will hear evidence in the case. He will then determine whether or not there is enough evidence to send the matter to trial in Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court.

If that happens, Butler has already chosen to be tried by jury rather than a judge alone.

A number of RNC officers took the stand at Butler's hearing Monday, though details of what they testified are banned from publication. Evidence presented at a preliminary inquiry cannot be reported, in order to protect the integrity of a potential trial.

Butler was arrested the evening of May 21, after police, paramedics and members of the Rovers search and rescue team were called to a home on Comerford's Road in Upper Gullies. Court documents indicate Butler lived at the address.

Inside, they found the body of 43-year-old George Allan Butler.

Philip Butler has been charged with second-degree murder as well as breaching a court order. At the time of his brother's death, Butler was on probation, having been convicted seven months earlier of uttering threats.

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