05/03/2012 05:43 EDT | Updated 07/03/2012 05:12 EDT

Rafferty closing arguments delayed; expected to start next week

LONDON, Ont. - Closing arguments in the trial of the man accused of killing eight-year-old Victoria Stafford have been pushed back.

Michael Rafferty's defence lawyers were supposed to present their closing arguments Friday.

But Crown and defence lawyers and the judge say they need a bit more time to discuss legal issues before the closing arguments begin.

The defence closing arguments are now scheduled for Monday, the Crown closing submissions on Tuesday and the judge's final instructions to the jury on Wednesday.

Rafferty, 31, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder, sexual assault causing bodily harm and kidnapping.

The Crown alleges he and Terri-Lynne McClintic, who has already pleaded guilty to first-degree murder, kidnapped Tori on April 8, 2009, in Woodstock, Ont., and killed her in a secluded field more than 100 kilometres away.