The public will be able to watch the decision in the Travis Vader trial live.
Justice Denny Thomas delivered his decision on a media request Tuesday afternoon. He said a camera will educate the public about the difference between a judge and jury trial. In this case Vader opted to be tried by judge alone. In his decision, Thomas must give reasons.
“From my perspective, it’s a big deal,” lawyer Matt Woodley, who represented the media outlets in their request, said. “This is going to be the first time that we’ve done this in the Court of Queen’s bench in Alberta. It’s in a very important criminal case that deals with many, many important public interest issues. I think that’s a very important decision, not only for this case, but to give instruction to other judges in similar cases in the future.”
“They’ll see the opening of the court, the judge coming in, sitting down, and delivering his decision,”he said. “They will be living it moment-by-moment with the people in the courtroom with the judge as he articulates his reasons for making these very important findings for the accused, and also the victims’ family.
The camera will be placed behind the bench and will be directed at only Thomas. While the camera is on a swivel, Woodley says it will not capture anyone in the gallery or Vader, but people watching the freed may hear reactions from within the gallery.
“It will be as if they’re sitting in the gallery,” Woodley said. “This is as close as we can get through current technology. They will get everything as everyone else is getting it.”
Thomas will read a shortened version of his verdict Thursday morning. His entire decision is 68,000 words, which he says would take all day to read. A full version will be posted online.
Travis Vader is facing two counts of first-degree murder in the death and disappearance of a St. Albert couple. Lyle and Marie McCann haven’t been seen since leaving for vacation in July 2010. Their bodies have never been found. (kb)