Jurors were excused Thursday in the high-profile trial of two adults charged in the slaying of a five-year-old girl, as lawyers made legal arguments before the judge.

The first witness in the trial is expected to testify on Friday or Monday.

The remains of Phoenix Sinclair, 5, were found on the Fisher River Indian reserve, 150 kilometres north of Winnipeg, in 2006. 

Phoenix's biological mother, Samantha Kematch, and Kematch's former boyfriend, Karl McKay, have pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree murder.

In his opening statement to jurors Wednesday, Crown attorney Rick Saull alleged both Kematch and McKay were equally responsible for the forcible confinement, abuse and death of the child.

After the killing, the couple allegedly applied for welfare benefits in Phoenix's name.

Sinclair spent most of her young life in foster care before being placed back with her mother in 2004. Her death sparked a massive review of Manitoba's child welfare system.

Jurors may return to begin hearing evidence in the trial tomorrow, Court of Queen's Bench Justice Karen Simonsen told them, or possibly on Monday.

The trial is expected to last until mid-December.