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.