Choose refuses to take away Randy Riley’s lawyer from homicide trial

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Judge refuses to remove Randy Riley's lawyer from murder trial

Randy Riley is allowed to keep his attorney for his second trial for second degree murder in the decade-long murder of a man in Dartmouth, NS

The Crown had taken the most unusual step of removing Trevor McGuigan from the case. In a ruling on Thursday morning, Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice Denise Boudreau ruled against the Crown’s motion.

The reasons for the Crown’s actions and the reasons for choosing to keep McGuigain on the file are excluded from disclosure in order to protect Riley’s right to a fair trial.

Riley is charged with the murder of Chad Smith, who was shot dead in north Dartmouth in October 2010.

Riley was found guilty of murder in a 2018 trial. He appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court of Canada, which overturned his conviction last month and ordered a new trial.

Smith was lured to his death on the pretext of delivering a pizza from the restaurant he had just started working at.

Riley and another man, Nathan Johnson, were charged with murder. Johnson was convicted of first degree murder and is serving a life sentence.

Johnson later testified at Riley’s first murder trial, where he told the jury that he acted alone in the murder. Despite this evidence, the jury convicted Riley of murder.

Riley’s case is now in a long line of trials in the Halifax area disrupted by COVID-19.

The Courts Building in downtown Halifax is not conducive to litigation under pandemic restrictions. A new court facility under construction at Burnside Industrial Park in Dartmouth will not be ready until March. There are enough legal proceedings waiting to connect the two new COVID courtrooms well into 2022.

However, Boudreau noted on Thursday that with a vaccine finally available, it might be possible for trials in the courts to resume sometime next year, which would speed up the whole process.

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