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Change of venue motion filed in Borutski case

By Sean Chase, The Daily Observer

Basil Borutski
Court sketch by Greg Banning/Postmedia Network

Basil Borutski Court sketch by Greg Banning/Postmedia Network

A motion for change of venue has been filed in the case of the man charged in the deaths of three Renfrew County women.

Basil Borutski appeared in Ontario Superior Court in Pembroke Thursday where a hearing was held to determine whether the matter will be administratively transferred out of this jurisdiction.

The court heard submissions from Crown attorney Jeff Richardson and Ottawa-based lawyer James Foord, who is acting as an amicus curiae behalf of the accused. Borutski has refused to retain defence counsel. Justice James E. McNamara, regional senior judge for Ontario’s East Region, said he will release a decision at a later date.

Borutski is charged with three counts of first-degree murder. On Sept. 22, 2015, the bodies of 36-year-old Anastasia Kuzyk and 48-year-old Nathalie Warmerdam were found slain in their homes in Wilno and Bonnechere Valley. Carol Culleton, 66, was found murdered in her cottage near Barry's Bay.

Sitting quietly in the prisoner’s dock, the accused was dressed in a green coat and made no comments during the three-hour hearing. At times Borutski closed his eyes when both sides were discussing the case. Occassionally he would glance at the public gallery.

Last summer, Foord was appointed as an amicus curiae to act as an intermediary between the accused and the judge ensuring all relevant evidence and arguments are properly presented to the court. Under Section 486 of the Criminal Code, Ottawa-based lawyer Patrick McCann was also appointed as counsel to conduct the cross-examination of some witnesses during the trial, powers that an amicus curiae wouldn’t have.

The four-month trial is scheduled to commence on Sept. 18, 2017. The trial, which is anticipated to hear from 125 Crown witnesses, is expected to continue until late January, 2018. A judicial pre-trial in the case will continue on March 20.

SChase@postmedia.com