It will be another year before a murder trial with connections to this province will begin in Saskatchewan.
Carol King was 40 years old when she disappeared from her rural home in Herschel, Sask., on Aug. 6, 2011. Three weeks later her body was found on an abandoned property just eight kilometres from her home. Police later confirmed she had been murdered.
Ms. King was originally from the small Bay St. George community of Mattis Point. Her disappearance and death, though many miles away, had an impact on the community.
Members of her family still live there.
Even with the discovery of her body the questions around what happened to remained unanswered.
It wasn’t until July 2016 when her former boyfriend, Joseph (David) Caissie, then 53, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder and offering an indignity to human remains.
Matthew Miazga is the senior Crown prosecutor with the Saskatchewan Ministry of Justice. He’s been tasked with prosecuting Caissie.
Caissie’s trial, before a jury in the Court of Queen’s Bench in Saskatoon, won’t begin until March 4, 2019, but Miazga said there will be activity taking place before then.
This Friday a case management hearing will be held with the trial judge, one of several planning sessions that will occur over the next year.
In June the court will start hearing a series of voir dires on the admissibility of evidence that will continue into September and October.
The trial may seem like a long way off, but Miazga said that doesn’t impact the argument.
“I’ve done cases where the offence has been further back than this one. The case is there, the evidence is there. So, it’s not really going to change that much.”
Miazga’s case will involve a large number of witnesses — there are 36 on his initial list — and he said there are some complicating factors.
Because it is a jury trial, he declined to comment more on what his prosecution will involve.
He did say the majority of his witnesses will be professionals, including Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers involved in the investigation.
Depending on Caissie’s willingness to make factual admissions on certain points — like when Ms. King went missing and the circumstances of her disappearance — Miazga said it’s unlikely he’ll call any members of Ms. King’s family.
Caissie was committed to stand trial in May 2017 and the original intent had been for the trial to take place this year.
But circumstances outside the court’s control prevented that after Caissie’s first lawyer withdrew from the case.
His second lawyer was only on the case for about three months before withdrawing due to a conflict of interest.
His current lawyer wasn’t a party to when the trial dates had been set, which resulted in the change in dates.
Miazga said that is why the court is using dates that are available to get some of the voir dires done.
Once it does start the trial is scheduled to run for six weeks.
Cassie has been in custody since his arrest and will remain so until the trial. An earlier application for bail was denied and Miazga feels it is unlikely he will apply again.
If convicted, he’s facing a mandatory sentence of life in prison.