Family members of a murdered little boy and his grandparents had to see the accused killer in person at the Calgary Courthouse Wednesday afternoon.
Douglas Garland, 54, said nothing during the brief appearance and his case was set over for a preliminary inquiry from May 19th to the 29th.
Outside court, defence counsel Kim Ross said the eight-month wait for his client to find out if there’s sufficient evidence to send him to trial is not a lengthy period in this instance.
“For a case of this complexity it’s actually a very short period of time,” Ross said.
While he’s received a great deal so far, Ross said he still expects much more disclosure to be provided by Crown prosecutor Shane Parker in the coming months.
“I understand there’s still a lot more that’s going to come,” he said.
He said until he reviews that he won’t be able to determine whether Garland seeks bail in advance of the preliminary hearing.
“I’m still going through the disclosure and we’ll make a decision once we get through all that and I consult with my client,” Ross said.
Parker said although a direct indictment could have been drafted, depriving Garland of a preliminary inquiry and taking the case straight to trial, he said it wasn’t advisable.
“In a case like this I was against a direct indictment,” he following the brief appearance by Garland, who did not address the court.
“It gives us a change to test drive some of the evidence,” he said, of calling some of the Crown’s case prior to trial.
He said he won’t be thinking trial strategy until he gets a committal against Garland, who faces two charges of first-degree murder and a third of second-degree murder.
“As I’ve often said to witnesses, this is the regular season and you don’t get to the playoffs until you get through the regular season,” Parker said.
“And you’ve got to get past the preliminary inquiry before you start talking trial.”
Garland is charged with first-degree murder in the June 29 slayings of Kathy and Alvin Liknes, as well as second-degree murder in the killing of their grandson, Nathan O’Brien.
The five-year-old was at a sleepover at his grandparents when he and Kathy, 53, and Alvin, 66, disappeared.
There bodies have never been found.
Parker said despite charges the investigation is ongoing.
“The investigation is continuing as it should,” he said.