Nfld. & Labrador

No trial until 2020 for accused killer Steve Bragg

Victoria Head's father got up and left the courtroom after the judge and lawyers settled on a trial date more than 26 months after his daughter was killed.

Victoria Head's father got up and left the courtroom when the date was announced

Steve Bragg is escorted into provincial court on Saturday, Dec. 23, where he made his first and only court appearance for the murder of Victoria Head. (Ryan Cooke/CBC)

The man accused of killing Victoria Head is set to stand trial more than 26 months after her body was found in a field alongside a dirt road in St. John's.

Steve Bragg did not appear in Supreme Court on Monday, but his lawyer Bob Buckingham submitted his earliest possible date for trial as Jan. 20, 2020.

After some back and forth, the judge and prosecution agreed on the date, prompting Head's father to stand up and leave the courtroom.

Outside Supreme Court afterwards, Head's family said they were shocked the date was so far in the future.

Not looking for argument, Buckingham says

The earliest date available for the court to host Bragg's six-week trial was next September, but Buckingham said he was tied up in a jury trial at the time.

He said he could start the trial in the first week of December 2019, but worried a six-week trial with a Christmas break in the middle would make jury selection difficult.

Bob Buckingham is a busy man. He told a Supreme Court justice he can't work the Steve Bragg trial until 2020. (Glenn Payette/CBC)

Chief Justice Raymond Whalen kicked around the idea of starting the trial in December, but settled on Jan. 20 instead.

Crown lawyer Robin Singleton agreed, but said any delays in proceeding would be Buckingham's fault.

"Well, I'm not going to get into an argument with my friend [Singleton] at this juncture," Buckingham said, before reiterating that he is busy with other trials until 2020.

Steve Bragg was listed as a missing person the night after Victoria Head was killed. He's since been charged with first-degree murder in her death. (RNC, Victoria Head/Facebook)

Bragg is accused of killing Head, 36, on Remembrance Day in 2017. Her body was found near the historic O'Brien Farm property off Mount Scio Road.

His first and only court appearance was on Dec. 23, after he was arrested without incident in Mount Pearl by the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary.

Buckingham has filed an application with the Supreme Court, appealing a judge's decision to send Bragg to trial for first-degree murder instead of a lesser charge.

That appeal is set to be heard on Feb. 20, 2019. Bragg will not be entering a plea until after the application is decided.

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