UPDATE: Judge considering what evidence will be admissible in Clow murder trial


Published on May 19, 2017

Joel Lawrence Clow being led out of Provincil Court in 2011.

©Guardian file photo by Mitch MacDonald

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - A publication ban in the first-degree murder trial for Joel Lawrence Clow has ended after all the witnesses it applied to testified in P.E.I. Supreme Court in Charlottetown.

P.E.I. Supreme Court Justice Nancy Key imposed the ban on testimony heard during a voir dire in the murder trial with a condition it end after a specific witness testified.

That witness took the stand Friday.

Clow previously pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in Traci Lynn Lynch’s death after her body was found in a wheelbarrow on his property on July 24, 2015.

A statement of admissions presented in court said Clow acknowledged his physical acts must be responsible for Lynch’s unlawful death.

A voir dire is a trial within a trial to determine if evidence is admissible.

In cases involving jury trials, a publication ban is imposed to prevent any jurors from potentially seeing details that may not be accepted as evidence in the trial.

Clow’s trial is proceeding by judge alone.

The Guardian and the CBC published details from testimony given under a voir dire before the defence sought a publication ban.

Key banned the publication of any evidence heard during the voir dire after defence lawyer Joel Pink raised the issue Thursday morning.

Lawyer Jennie Pick represented the media in court Friday and argued the presumption is the courts are open to the public.

During trials, witnesses are routinely ordered to remain out of the courtroom so they don’t hear evidence.

Pink argued there was a risk other witnesses who had yet to testify in the voir dire might change their evidence and that there was a risk to his client.

Key said she didn’t find the legal test for a publication ban was met, but she had the authority to control court processes during the trial.

She maintained the publication ban until the specified witness finished her testimony.

Several witnesses testified in the voir dire Friday, including toxicologist Peter Mullen who the defence called about a toxicology report that found what he said was a high concentration of methamphetamine in Lynch’s blood.

Another witness testified Lynch showed her scrapes on her legs from what the victim said was her running through the woods to get away from Clow after he tried to run her over.

Crown prosecutor Cyndria Wedge also told the court a witness who didn’t finish her testimony because she had a seizure while on the stand earlier in the week wouldn’t be returning.

Her testimony won’t be considered in the trial, but Wedge still sought to have text messages between Lynch and the woman deemed admissible.

Other testimony heard throughout the voir dire included one man saying he heard Clow say he would kill Lynch some day and other witnesses saying she told them she was afraid of the accused.

Pink sought to have some of the testimony heard in the voir dire deemed inadmissible.

In her submissions, Wedge argued much of the evidence the court heard would have been admissible without the voir dire.

Wedge argued the rest of the testimony from the voir dire should also be admissible in the trial.

Key said she will give her decision on the admissibility of the evidence Tuesday morning when the trial resumes.

 

EARLIER THIS WEEK

Day 3: Traci Lynch told friends she was scared of Joel Clow, murder trial hears