The two men charged with first-degree murder in the death of Ancaster, Ont., resident Tim Bosma will head straight to trial, skipping the eight-week preliminary hearing, according to a report.
The attorney general's office has signed off on a direct indictment, the Toronto Star reports about the accused, Dellen Millard, 28, and Mark Smich, 26.
An eight-week preliminary hearing was scheduled to start on Sept. 8.
Assistant crown attorneys applied to the attorney general last month for a direct indictment, a rare move reserved for the most serious cases.
The Ministry of the Attorney General said it could not comment on whether requests for direct indictments have been made in a specific case.
"However, I can confirm that the matter is currently scheduled to be spoken to" in the Superior Court of Justice in Hamilton on Friday, said ministry spokesman Jason Gennaro in an email Wednesday to CBC News.
“The Crown will make its position on this matter known in court at the appropriate time."
Direct indictments rare
Bosma, 32, was last seen taking a test drive with two men in a truck he was selling online in May 2013.
His remains were found burned beyond recognition about a week later on a Waterloo-area farm owned by Millard.
Direct indictments are rare in Canada, but a recent example involved the case of Michael Rafferty, who was convicted in the kidnapping murder of eight-year-old Tori Stafford of Woodstock, Ont.
Direct indictment decisions are made unilaterally by the prosecutors, and the defence has no ability to argue against it.
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Under federal guidelines, direct indictments are permitted, among other factors, to:
- Avoid multiple proceedings.
- Protect the safety of witnesses and their families.
- “Where the age, health or other circumstances relating to witnesses requires their evidence to be presented before the trial court as soon as possible.”
Millard also faces a first-degree murder charge in the death of his father, Wayne Millard. The elder Millard's death was originally ruled a suicide.
Millard and Smich are also charged with first-degree murder in the death of Laura Babcock, 23.
Bosma is survived by a wife, Sharlene, and a young daughter. His widow has since started a charity to help the families of victims.