POLITICS

Decision date set on media request for warrants in Calgary mass murder

03/10/2015 01:33 EDT | Updated 05/10/2015 05:59 EDT
CALGARY - A date has been set for a ruling on a media request that evidence be released in Calgary's worst mass murder.

Matthew de Grood, who is 23, is accused of stabbing five young people at an end-of-school house party last April.

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

Judge Tim Hironaka is to release his decision on March 25.

De Grood was committed to stand trial last week on five counts of first-degree murder.

He is charged in the deaths of Zackariah Rathwell, 21; Lawrence Hong, 27; Joshua Hunter, 23; Jordan Segura, 22; and Kaiti Perras, 23.

Several family members of the victims were in court Tuesday to watch the proceedings.

"The victims' families are very upset about the application to unseal the search warrants and so they are very strongly opposed to that application," said Crown prosecutor Neil Wiberg.

"I think you noticed a lot of them attended court today just to find out the date the decision would be rendered."

Wiberg said he is opposed to the information being released. He believes it could affect the fairness of de Grood's trial.

"I feel the publication ban should be in place until the jury deliberates on this matter," said Wiberg.

"If the information is published, then all prospective jurors would hear that information, and I think that could taint a jury pool."

Family members issued a statement when the application was filed last fall expressing their opposition to what they said would be 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 revictimization 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.''

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