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Laura Babcock murder trial pushed to September 2017

By Sam Pazzano, Toronto Sun

Laura Babcock

Laura Babcock

A judge has put his foot down with Dellen Millard.

Justice John McMahon has postponed the start of Millard and Mark Smich’s murder trial in the death of Laura Babcock, but not the full delay Millard was seeking because he hoped to hire a specific lawyer.

“The right to retain counsel of choice is not absolute,” McMahon said. That right has to balanced against the right of Smich and the Crown, and community’s interest, to have a trial within a reasonable time, McMahon said.

“Millard has not acted diligently.”

The trial was supposed to begin in just a few months, on Feb. 17. Millard was seeking a delay until January 2018 when Stephen Bernstein, the experienced counsel he sought, will be available.

McMahon ruled the trial will now begin in September.

Smich and Millard both face first-degree murder charges in the death of Babcock, 23, a Toronto woman who went missing in July 2012. Her body was never found.

Millard is also charged with first-degree murder in the death of his father, Wayne Millard, 71, whose death in November 2012 was initially considered a suicide.

The judge told Millard to seek other representation in a city teeming with good defence lawyers

Both Crown prosecutor Jill Cameron and Thomas Dungey, Smich’s defence lawyer, vigourously opposed the adjournment. They asserted Millard was attempting to manipulate the system, as he did before the Tim Bosma murder trial.

Prior to the Bosma trial, Millard requested multiple adjournments, Dungey said.

“That is the pattern we are seeing again ... what we have is Mr. Millard controlling the courts,” he said.

McMahon ruled the Wayne Millard murder trial will be scheduled for February 2018, a month or so after the Babcock trial should be finished.

McMahon said Millard had over a year to retain a lawyer, but instead, maintained he wanted to represent himself despite the court’s advice to obtain a lawyer, until Millard changed his mind.

Millard, 30, and Smich, 28, of Oakville, are now serving life sentences after they were convicted in June this year of first-degree murder in the brutal May 2013 killing of Bosma, a Hamilton-area father.

Both Millard and Smich are appealing their convictions.

Millard will appear in court next Friday.