ALBERTA

Judge reserves decision on media request for warrants in Calgary mass murder

11/26/2014 04:45 EST | Updated 01/26/2015 05:59 EST
CALGARY - A courtroom was packed Wednesday with friends and family who oppose a media request that evidence be released about the stabbings of five young people in Calgary's worst mass murder.

Matthew de Grood, 23, is accused of killing the five at a house party last April.

Several media outlets have requested access to warrants and witness interviews done immediately after the attack.

The submissions before Judge Tim Hironaka are under a publication ban and cannot be reported. He put the matter over until March 10.

A two-week preliminary hearing for de Grood is to begin a week earlier.

The delay Wednesday is not that unusual, said media lawyer Matt Woodley.

"It can range from an immediate decision, which the judge indicated he had been considering, or it can range to several months' delay, so this is not terribly unusual," Woodley said outside court.

"The judge indicated that ... (the arguments) were robust enough that he needed additional time to reflect on those and to come to a decision."

Family members of the victims issued a statement last week expressing their opposition to the upsetting details being released.

"We struggle to understand the benefit to the public of publicizing this information prior to a trial. We would suggest the details of this case are such that no one should want or need to hear/read about them prior to them being presented in a court of law," said the statement.

"Our priority as we try and rebuild our lives is to protect the dignity of our lost children and try and prevent the re-victimization of the young people who were traumatized by the events of April 15, 2014. They continue to relive every detail of that night, and the last thing any of us need at this time is additional anguish and sorrow."

De Grood is charged with first-degree murder in the stabbings at a party near the University of Calgary to mark the end of the school year. He has already been found fit to stand trial.

De Grood, the son of a senior Calgary police officer, has been in psychiatric care since his arrest.

Police have not said what they believe was the motivation behind the attack.

They say de Grood was invited to the party April 15 and mingled with guests before violence broke out.

Zackariah Rathwell, 21; Lawrence Hong, 27; Joshua Hunter, 23; Jordan Segura, 22; and Kaiti Perras, 23, were slain.

Crown prosecutor Neil Wiberg has kept in contact with their families and said the legal process has been hard on them.

"It certainly is. Five outstanding people were murdered. It's an extremely emotional issue," he said.

Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter

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