More time needed for trial of accused Comox Valley double murderer

The trial for the man facing two counts of murder in Courtenay will continue to at least next month following a voir dire and more applications to be heard in front of provincial supreme court.

On Monday, Michael Philip Simard, 44, made his appearance in what was supposed to be the first day of a trial set to run until Nov. 23.

Simard is charged with two counts of second-degree murder, which, if found guilty, could carry a life sentence in custody.

Around 3 a.m Oct. 5, 2016, Comox Valley RCMP attended a residence on the 2300 block of Urquhart Avenue in Courtenay, where a woman and man were found dead in the home.

Simard was transported to hospital with a self-inflicted gunshot injury.

Police confirmed Simard and the couple, identified by sources as Leanne Larocque and Gord Turner, knew each other.

READ: Victim’s family in attendance as accused murderer makes first court appearance

Defence attorney Matt Nathanson told B.C. Supreme Court Judge Douglas Thompson he “fundamentally disagree(s) on how the trial is proceeding,” as the original game plan of the trial has substantially been altered due to a variety of voir dires and applications, he added.

A voir dire is a hearing within a trial or hearing to determine the question of law or admissibility of evidence.

Nathanson said he needs to know the outcome of the voir dires to know what is admissible and what is not along with time to properly defend his client.

“It is not possible to deal with the issues until I know what the evidentiary landscape is,” he said. “I cannot defend my client in a murder case on the fly without having reasonable time.”

Crown attorney Bob Richardson and Nathanson will return to court Wednesday to continue submissions. Richardson inquired with Thompson about scheduling additional court time into December.

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