Man facing retrial in Cole Harbour triple shooting seeks bail

Markel Jason Downey, 22, is accused in a violent home invasion that left a woman paralyzed from the waist down. He will make a bid to get out of jail while he awaits a second trial.

Markel Jason Downey, 22, is accused in November 2014 home invasion that left woman paralyzed

Markel Jason Downey turns to speak to a supporter as he leaves Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Halifax in February 2017. (CBC)

A man accused in a violent home invasion in Cole Harbour, N.S., that left a woman paralyzed from the waist down is making a bid to get out of jail while he awaits a second trial.

Markel Jason Downey, 22, is facing more than 21 charges, including three of attempted murder, in relation to the shooting in November 2014.

Three people were wounded in the attack. One of them, Ashley MacLean Kearse, was left paralyzed and now uses a wheelchair.

Last year, Downey was acquitted of all charges and set free after a judge ruled Kearse had not adequately identified him as her shooter. The Crown appealed Downey's acquittal, and earlier this year the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal ordered a new trial.

Police had to issue a Canada-wide warrant to find Downey. Last month, he was arrested during a routine traffic stop and he's been in custody ever since.

Ashley MacLean Kearse was shot during the home invasion. She is seen here outside a Halifax courtroom during the 2017 trial. (CBC)

On Thursday, a bail hearing was set for next month as Downey's lawyer, Pat MacEwen, tries to secure his release pending a new trial.

Downey's retrial had been set for October, but MacEwen said last month a scheduling conflict meant he could not attend on those dates to represent his client.

Initially, the next dates the court could find were in September 2019. MacEwen objected to the delay, and Justice Josh Arnold asked that lawyers whose matters would be resolved without trial to tell the court so time could be freed up.

On Thursday, MacEwen told Justice Denise Boudreau that he sent a mass email to members of the Nova Scotia Criminal Trial Lawyers Association asking for help. He got no reply. Crown prosecutor Scott Morrison told court he made similar inquiries.

In the end, the court was able to find new trial dates in the spring. Even that is a long way off, so a bail hearing has been scheduled for next month.

Three other males, all of them youths, pleaded guilty to taking part in the home invasion. Their identities are protected by a publication ban.