Sudbury

Defence lawyer change further delays Renee Sweeney murder trial in Sudbury

One of the most anticipated trials in Sudbury's history has been delayed yet again, just two weeks before it was set to begin.

It has been almost three years since charges were first laid in the 1998 murder

Renee Sweeney was stabbed to death in December 1998 while working in a Sudbury video store. (Supplied)

One of the most anticipated trials in Sudbury's history has been delayed yet again, just two weeks before it was set to begin.

Steven Wright, 42, was set to stand trial for the 1998 murder of Renee Sweeney on Oct. 25.

But a Sudbury court heard Tuesday morning that the trial will be delayed until next month at the earliest.

That's because veteran Sudbury defence lawyer Berk Keaney, who has been on the case for more than two years, is now being replaced by Toronto lawyer Michael Lacy.

The reasons for the change are covered by a court-ordered publication ban. 

But Keaney said in a released statement that he "declared a conflict" in the case and "all parties agreed it would be proper for me to step aside."

Lacy became well-known in Sudbury for defending Gerry Lougheed during the by-election trial in 2017, but since then has taken several other prominent local criminal cases.

Toronto defence lawyer Michael Lacy (right) has taken on several prominent Sudbury cases in recent years, beginning with the Sudbury by-election trial of 2017 when he represented Gerry Lougheed. (Radio-Canada)

The new trial dates are expected to be set on Nov. 2.

This Dec. 11 will mark three years since Wright was charged with Sweeney's murder, which happened when he was 18 years old. 

The murder trial was originally scheduled for May 2021, but that was put off until October due to COVID-19 concerns. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Erik White

journalist

Erik White is a CBC journalist based in Sudbury. He covers a wide range of stories about northern Ontario. Connect with him on Twitter @erikjwhite. Send story ideas to erik.white@cbc.ca

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