Slain man's family relieved to clear last hurdle in hunt for justice

After a six-year wait, the family of Fouad Nayel is hoping to find justice now that his accused killer's trial is finally set to begin.

Ex-soldier Adam Picard's trial for 2012 murder of Fouad Nayel scheduled to start Sept. 4

Nicole and Amine Nayel said in June they weren't optimistic the Ontario Court of Appeal would rule in their favour. (Ashley Burke/CBC)

After a six-year wait, the family of Fouad Nayel is hoping to find justice now that his accused killer's trial is finally set to begin.

On Thursday, Adam Picard, a former soldier accused of killing the 28-year-old, lost his bid to the Supreme Court to halt the trial over concerns about delays in the case. 

Picard will head to court Sept. 4, according to his lawyer.

The Supreme Court of Canada declined to hear Picard's challenge of an appeal court decision dismissing his arguments about the time it took to bring the case to trial.

Picard was arrested in December 2012 in the killing of Nayel, who went missing in June that year.

The trial was set to begin in 2016 but the Ontario Superior Court of Justice stayed the first-degree murder charge in light of new time limits established by the Supreme Court.

In its appeal, the Crown argued the judge mischaracterized the nature of the delays, failed to consider the complexity of the case and did not properly account for a transitional period in applying the new rules.

Adam Picard was charged with first-degree murder in the death of Fouad Nayel in 2012, but walked out of court a free man in 2016 after an Ontario Superior Court judge ruled court delays violated his right to a timely trial. (CBC)

The Ontario Court of Appeal allowed the appeal last September and ordered the trial to proceed, prompting Picard to take his case to the Supreme Court.

Picard's lawyer, Michael Crystal, would not comment on the Supreme Court's decision Thursday. 

He told CBC News that he hasn't spoken to Picard yet.

He said Picard was denied bail in October and has been at the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre since then. 

Years of fighting

Nicole Nayel said the six years since her son died have been a fight against the system. 

"I feel like everything is boiling in me because I couldn't get justice for my son. I've been fighting for the past six years to get this justice," she said. "I haven't had a chance to grieve my son because I've been fighting the system every step of the way."

Fouad's mother, Nicole Nayel, said she and her family have been in a holding pattern for six years waiting to find out when, or even if, a trial will take place. 0:50

The experience has left "a bad taste" in her mouth because of all of the delays, she said. 

"All we're asking [for is] to find out the truth, the justice for my son and lock the person who did this to my son behind bars. That's all we're asking for," Nayel said. 

"It's been over six years and I felt like nothing is moving. So, now at least it gives me a little hope it's moving forward."

With files from Canadian Press