Saturday, March 30, 2013

Further Delay in Trial of Suspect in Death of Miss Liu Qian

In April 2011 the daughter of my friend and colleague, Liu Jianhui of the Central Party School in Beijing died in Toronto.  Liu Qian was 23, a student at York University.  Shortly thereafter, Brian Dickson was arrested for the murder of Miss Liu.  Dickson remains imprisoned.  A lengthy preliminary hearing was held in February 2012.  The full trial was subsequently scheduled to begin on April 2, 2013.

Now I have learnt that the suspect's lawyer successfully achieved a delay in the start of the trial by getting a judge to agree to having mental health assessment of the accused done prior to the trial being held.  This development occurred last Thursday, March 28, the day before the Good Friday/Easter holiday.  It appears that the trial of Brian Dickson will likely be re-scheduled to begin at the end of this year and go over into 2014.  That certainly is some long time after the young woman died in the spring of 2011. Her parents and all of us would like to see closure to the tragedy of the death of this only child of such a good and fine family.  So now we have to wait even longer.

Can anyone explain to me what it going on here?  Is it simply the proclivity of Canadian defence lawyers to seek to delay and delay?  What sort of defence strategy could be behind this?  I would certainly welcome any information from anyone reading this blog post.

In the meantime I feel a very deep sense of unease about all of this.


Anonymous said...

Not sure. I was told that when someone is charged w murder they stay in jail for a couple of years before trial so this is standard in how they system works. I knew this guy. He has serious psychological issues but should stay in jail - I don't doubt it is possible to rehabilitate ppl but I don't believe our society is there yet. Does anyone deserve a life after an act like this. Easy to say yes for ppl who didn't lose a close family member to these monsters. It is too bad his parents defended him. At the first signs of psychotic behaviour the parents need to take strong intelligent action or they are not doing their child any favors as in the end the child will end up in jail or worse like this guy did. I am sure jail in itself is punishment and I don't wish it upon anyone but a 23 year old girl's life gone and with it destruction of lives of her family - what could be worse for a parent.

Anonymous said...

Depends on what the mental health assessment targets. If it is looking at his current state, they could be trying to argue that he is not well enough mentally to stand trial. Of they are testing for back at the time of the crime, then it could be an insanity defence, but that seems unlikely to try to submit that at this point. Murder cases in Canada often take two years to reach trial, and it is also not uncommon for lawyers to delay over and over again. It could also be a tactic to make it less of a public interest story now that the homicide will have taken place so long before the trial, and now other high-interest trials will be going on at the same time. This was the biggest news story for a long time, and I would imagine the defence doesn't want their client to go through it again. Email me if you want to discuss it more:

Anonymous said...

I have been wondering about this case, as I was attending the same university at the time of this tragedy. The way the case was portrayed in the media seemed so weird, and then nothing has been mentioned since (except for this blog post). My belief is that the delay is the result of a slow Canadian court process and not a strategy by defence to delay the trial. It would seem that the defences strategy is to plea insanity or that client is not fit to stand trial, and the goal of this would be to receive a different sentence than to plea guilty to murder. In either case, I hope that for the parents sake the trial happens soon and they can get the closure they need.

Anonymous said...

Dirty Trick by the defense . Where is the prosecutor !!! Where is Michael Bryan !!!