The murder trial of Thomas Ted Barrett in Sydney has been adjourned for one week because a key witness can't be found.


Brett Elizabeth MacKinnon was last seen in June 2006. (Justice Department)

Barrett's ex-girlfriend, Ashley MacDonald, was expected to take the stand this morning. She lives out West but the Crown is keeping her exact location a secret.

Barrett, 40, is on trial in Nova Scotia Supreme Court for second-degree murder in the death of 21-year-old Brett Elizabeth MacKinnon. 

She was last seen in 2006. Her remains were discovered in the fall of 2008 in a wooded area in Glace Bay. 

Crown attorney Kathy Pentz told the court that police are searching for MacDonald. Pentz said the Crown does not believe MacDonald is trying to avoid testifying.

"No not at all. In fact the evidence that we have is quite the contrary. Our indication is that she is prepared to return," Pentz said to reporters outside the courtroom.

Pentz told the court MacDonald was kicked out of her apartment for failing to pay the rent. She said MacDonald is living a transient lifestyle. 

Justice Robin Gogan asked if Crown witnesses could be rescheduled so the trial could continue this week. Pentz said the testimony of the next two witnesses depends on MacDonald's testimony. 

Barrett's lawyer Brian Bailey did not object to the adjournment.

Gogan has adjourned the trial until Feb. 1. Pentz would not say what will happen if MacDonald can't be found by then.