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Lawyer wants peek at Vo murder plea

Brent Reaney
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Mar 16/05) - The lawyer for a man charged with first-degree murder wants access to the Crown's negotiations with three men who pleaded guilty to charges stemming from the same incident.

Gerald Delorme faces a charge of first-degree murder in connection with the death of Justin Hai Van Vo, whose charred remains were found just outside Yellowknife in the summer of 2003.

In February, Francis Yukon was sentenced to five years in prison after pleading guilty to manslaughter.

Last fall, Richard Tutin and Dale Coutoreille pleaded guilty to accessory to murder charges, and were each sentenced to three and a half years in prison.

Catherine Rhinelander, Delorme's lawyer, wants the plea negotiation documents made available for cross examination during his trial starting June 6. It is expected to go four weeks.

The Crown, as well as lawyers representing Yukon and Tutin, have said they will oppose the application. "Any relevance that those negotiations may have, is sort of outweighed by the confidentiality of plea negotiations," said Noel Sinclair, one of two Crown attorneys set to argue the application March 15.

While the Crown has said it does not intend to call Coutoreille during Delorme's trial, Sinclair could not say whether Yukon or Tutin will be asked to testify.

The broad-shouldered Delorme appeared briefly in court March 14 wearing a dark blue collared shirt.

A beige envelope containing documents related to the three sets of negotiations was submitted by Crown attorney Caroline Carrasco in court March 14.