Nova Scotia

Protesters call on N.S. Supreme Court judge to deny bail for woman charged in murder

Holding hand-drawn placards, friends and family of Stephen Rose stood outside the Sydney courthouse asking a Nova Scotia Supreme Court judge to keep Jessica Anne MacDonald in custody.

Jessica Ann MacDonald is one of two people charged in the 2019 death of Stephen Rose

Friends and supporters of murder victim Stephen Rose attended a protest outside the Sydney Justice Centre on Tuesday. (Erin Pottie/CBC)

A Cape Breton father of four was remembered Tuesday at a protest demanding that one of the people accused in his death be denied bail.

Holding hand-drawn placards, friends and family of Stephen Rose stood outside the Sydney courthouse in bouts of rain asking a Nova Scotia Supreme Court judge to keep Jessica Anne MacDonald in custody.

"We're here hoping that [bail] doesn't happen," said Bradley Kennedy, a friend who met Rose as a teenager. 

"He deserves justice like everyone. It has not been easy on any of the family, especially not on Steve's children. And waiting for answers can be a long process and justice can move slowly."

Bradley Kennedy says he met Stephen Rose around age 17 after moving to Cape Breton from Ontario. Kennedy says Rose was well liked and well travelled, and had amassed friends from all over Canada. (Matthew Moore/CBC)

Rose's body was discovered inside a Rotary Drive apartment building in Sydney on Nov. 5, 2019. He was 41.

MacDonald, 35, is one of two people charged with first-degree murder in Rose's death. She was taken into custody a little over 20 months ago and is now seeking bail over a two-day hearing in Sydney.

She sat quietly alongside defence lawyer Peter Mancini as the hearing got underway. 

Bail sought

Investigators said that witness interviews and autopsy results led them to conclude Rose was murdered. 

Cape Breton Regional Police have said that Rose knew the accused, but did not say how he died. Nor did they release any other details.

Stephen Rose was murdered in 2019. Police have not said how the 41-year-old man died. (Facebook)

A few days into their investigation, police charged MacDonald and Joey Frederick Evong, 39.

Both of the accused are scheduled for their own trials in Nova Scotia Supreme Court next year. Evong continues to be held in custody.

Senior Crown attorneys Mark Gouthro and Rochelle Palmer told the judge Tuesday they do not consent to MacDonald's decision to seek bail. 

Jessica Anne MacDonald is shown at a court appearance in Sydney on Nov. 12, 2019. (Gary Mansfield)

Supreme Court Justice Frank Hoskins, who was appointed in July, is overseeing the matter.

Rose family supporters and friends are expected to return to Sydney again on Wednesday. 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Erin Pottie

Reporter

Erin Pottie is a CBC reporter based in Sydney. She has been covering local news in Cape Breton for 15 years. Story ideas welcome at erin.pottie@cbc.ca.

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