Yellowknife hotel shortage delays murder trial
A shortage of hotel space in Yellowknife this week is responsible for a one-day delay Monday in the murder trial of Emrah Bulatci, an Alberta man accused of killing an RCMP officer two years ago.
Bulatci, 25, is charged with first-degree murder in the October 2007 death of Const. Christopher Worden, who was shot to death in Hay River, N.W.T.
A 12-member N.W.T. Supreme Court jury heard from a total 53 Crown and defence witnesses during the trial, which began Oct. 21 in Yellowknife.
The jury was supposed to begin hearing final arguments on Monday, and could have been sequestered to begin determining a verdict as early as Tuesday.
But jurors must be put up in hotel rooms if they need more than one day to deliberate, and many of Yellowknife's hotel rooms had already been booked for the annual Geoscience Forum, which runs Tuesday to Thursday.
The earliest that hotel rooms are available is Wednesday, the court was told on Friday. Rooms have been reserved for Wednesday night, in case jurors need more time to deliberate.
Justice John Vertes declared Monday a day off, and closing arguments will be made on Tuesday.
Vertes will give his final instructions to the jury on Wednesday morning.