July 18th, 2024

Voir dire shortened in manslaughter case

By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on October 14, 2023.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A court hearing for a Fort Macleod man charged with manslaughter more than two years ago has been shortened following discussions between the Crown and defence.

A three-day voir dire – a mini trial within a trial – for Cullen Drake Tailfeathers was scheduled to run next Thursday, Friday and Oct. 23. However, during a brief hearing Friday in Lethbridge court of justice, Crown Prosecutor Clayton Giles said the voir dire has been “whittled down” to just two days – next Friday and the following Monday.

The voir dire, to discuss pre-trial applications and the admissibility of evidence, is a precursor to the trial proper, which is set to run for five days beginning Jan. 22, 2024. The trial was set to run earlier that month, but it was postponed to accommodate Calgary lawyer Jim Lutz’s schedule.

Linden Blair Grier, 33, of Brocket was found dead in a home in Fort Macleod May 24, 2021. Police were called to the residence at 2:24 a.m. following a report that a man had been injured. Attempts to save the man’s life were unsuccessful.

Tailfeathers was arrested three days later and he pleaded not guilty in August 2021 to single charges of manslaughter and break and enter.

Tailfeathers, 27, was originally set to stand last January, but it was cancelled the previous November after Calgary lawyer Balfour Der withdrew as counsel, citing an “irreparable” breakdown in the lawyer-client relationship. A week later Lutz went on the record and requested the trial be adjourned to give him time to review disclosure and get up to speed on the case.

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