Basil Borutski will go to trial for murder in fall of 2017
Basil Borutski Court sketch by Greg Banning/Postmedia Network
Basil Borutski will go on trial for murder next fall.
The Round Lake-area man charged with first degree murder in the deaths of three Renfrew County women has learned he will face a judge and jury when his four-month trial commences Sept. 18, 2017. The trial, which is anticipated to hear from 125 Crown witnesses, is expected to continue until late January, 2018.
Wrapping up a judicial pre-trial in a Pembroke superior court Thursday, Justice Lynn Ratushny appointed Ottawa-based lawyer James Foord as an amicus curiae who will act on behalf of the accused. The charges against the 58-year-old Borutski stem from the Sept. 22, 2015 deaths of Anastasia Kuzyk, Nathalie Warmerdam and Carol Culleton.
Wearing a grey T-shirt and grey track pants, the dishevelled Borutski, who remains in custody at the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre, did not stand up when the justice entered the courtroom or acknowledge her as she tried to inform him about how his case will proceed next. Despite his refusal to hire a lawyer or speak with legal aid, Ratushny told him that the trial will proceed.
“I regret, Mr. Borutski, that you have chosen this avenue,” said Ratushny, who is acting as the case management judge for the matter and will not try the accused. “By your silence, you have been proven fit to stand trial.”
Crown attorney Jeff Richardson also filed a motion under Section 486 of the Criminal Code to appoint Ottawa-based lawyer Patrick McCann as counsel to conduct the cross-examination of some witnesses during the trial, powers that an amicus curiae wouldn’t have. During judicial proceedings, the amicus curiae acts as an intermediary between the accused and the judge ensuring all relevant evidence and arguments are properly presented to the court. The duties and responsibilities of the amicus curiae in this particular case will be more clearly defined by the trial judge, the court heard.
The location of the trial was not confirmed. While he believed the accused should be tried in the jurisdiction where the offences took place, Richardson explained that the amicus curiae may be inclined to enter a change of venue motion which could move the trial to Ottawa. Duty counsel Biagio Del Greco, who has been speaking on Borutski’s behalf, said he saw some merit in what Richardson was suggesting.
“Given the publicity this case has garnered and the size of this jurisdiction, there could be difficulty panelling an impartial jury,” said Del Greco.
Pre-trial motions in the case will be heard from April 10 to May 19, 2017.