Trio convicted in killing wants charges stayed over length of trial
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CALGARY — Three men convicted of the killing of a young man outside a Calgary bar want the charges stayed because the case took too long to get through the court system.
Lukas Strasser Hird, 18, was killed outside the Vinyl Nightclub in 2013 after he objected to another man’s use of a racial slur.
After a six-week trial, a jury found Assmar Shlah and Franz Cabrera guilty of second-degree murder while Joch Pouk was convicted of manslaughter.
The Supreme Court of Canada recently ruled that cases that last more than 18 months in provincial court or 30 months in superior court should be thrown out.
Lawyers for the convicted men said their case falls under this ruling.
The judge will decide on Dec. 15 if the case took too long, and if it hasn’t, sentencing for the three convicted men will proceed.
“I find no matter which way you cut it, the delay has been too long here, unacceptable delay, and these young men should be set free,” said Balfour Der, defence lawyer for Assmar Shlah.
“The defence is saying that makes the ceiling 18 months and we're saying that's silly, a case where there's over 100 witnesses and five accused should not be given the same ceiling as a person stealing a chocolate bar at convenience store,” said Crown prosecutor Ken McCaffrey.
The victim’s father said he can’t believe the defence is attempting to have the case thrown out.
“They think it took too long and they figure they should get away with it and it's pretty disgraceful if you ask me,” said Dale Hird.
An arrest warrant is still active for another man in the case, 21-year-old Nathan Gervais, who was charged with first-degree murder but fled house arrest while awaiting trial.