Trial to proceed
Deschenes faces second-degree murder charges

Kerry McCluskey
Northern News Services

IQALUIT (Oct 25/99) - The Nunavut Court of Justice ruled last week that Iqaluit resident Mary Deschenes would stand trial for second-degree murder.

Deschenes was charged with killing her common-law husband, Gilles Bergeron, with a single stab wound to the chest in the early- morning hours on April 23.

The decision that she be tried for second-degree murder was handed down on Thursday afternoon by Justice Robert Kilpatrick following a three-day preliminary hearing at the courthouse in Iqaluit.

While it was not his role to weigh the evidence or judge its credibility, Kilpatrick did have to decide whether or not there was enough evidence to warrant a trial in the matter.

Flanked by her daughter and other relatives and friends, Deschenes and the court listened as Crown lawyer Pamela Clarke presented six witnesses and entered several pieces of evidence as exhibits.

Defense counsel Sue Cooper, who waived her formal address and said her client did not wish to make a statement at the time.

After listening to the evidence and submissions provided by the lawyers, Kilpatrick, citing several other cases that guided him in his decision-making process, said the Crown passed the test and had proved there was enough evidence. He ordered then Deschenes to appear on Dec. 2 to set a date for her trial.

Electing to be tried by judge and jury earlier this year, Deschenes will be formally arraigned and will enter a plea at the trial.

It is expected that the matter will get under way in the Nunavut Court of Justice in March 2000. Deschenes will remain out on bail until then.

A ban preventing the publication of any evidence or submissions until the trial has ended has been ordered.