The three men charged with second-degree murder in the death of a missing Cape Breton fisherman were placed in a van travelling together to court on Monday, despite a court order not to speak or associate with each other.
James Joseph Landry, Craig Landry and Dwayne Matthew Samson — who are all charged with second-degree murder in Phillip Boudreau's death — were transported in the same van between the Cape Breton Correctional Facility and Port Hawkesbury provincial court due to a mix-up in the prisoner transport unit of the sheriff's service.
They were due in court to set dates and times for preliminary hearings and bail applications.
When the three men were charged earlier this month, they were ordered not to have contact with the victim's family or each other.
"What a way to jeopardize the case right now, at this moment. I don't think that it's fair. It should've never happened," said Margaret Rose Boudreau, the victim's sister.
"I'm very appalled by it because the judge ordered, a few weeks back that there should be no contact."
Dan MacRury, the Crown prosecutor in the case, said the mix-up is a concern because it gave the three accused a chance to speak to each other and that could taint the evidence in the case.
The sheriffs have been ordered to separate the men on any return visit to court.
Victim allegedly shot, run over in boat
CBC News obtained documents that outline the final moments of Boudreau's life on the morning of June 1.
The documents are contained in the police file and have not been entered as evidence or challenged by defense lawyers. The statements may not be true but they do form the basis for the case that is now before the courts.
Gerard Boudreau, the victim's brother, told investigators he watched from his deck as the fishing boat Twin Maggies chased down his brother, who was in a small motor boat.
He said he heard as many as five gunshots as the bigger boat circled his younger brother in the water. He told police he knew Boudreau had been shot because he saw him fall over in the boat but the gunshots continued.
The documents also contain a statement made by James Joseph Landry, who told police the incident came after a long standing dispute on the water over the placement of lobster traps.
According to the documents, Landry told police he shot at Boudreau with a rifle after the crew spotted him cutting gear they owned. He claimed he fired four shots and the second one hit Boudreau and he fell over in the boat.
He told investigators the Twin Maggies then ran over Boudreau and his smaller boat a couple of times. He said they never saw his body after that.