Murder trial to take place on original dates

Lawyers for Philip Pynn, Lyndon Butler turn down court’s offer for earlier time

Rosie Mullaley
Published on February 4, 2014
Philip Wayne Pynn was back in Newfoundland Supreme Court in St. John’s Monday. The court offered earlier court dates for Pynn and Butler, but their lawyers opted to keep the fall dates.
— Photo by Rosie Gillingham/The Telegram

Lawyers for two men accused of murder have turned down the court’s offer to have their clients’ trial held earlier in the year.

Instead, they’ve decided to keep the original Sept. 9 start date.

The case of Philip Wayne Pynn and Lyndon Malcolm Butler was called in Newfoundland Supreme Court in St. John’s Monday morning to inform lawyers that the trial can now be accommodated in April.

Justice William Goodridge told Crown prosecutor David Bright; lawyer Mark Gruchy, who represents Pynn; and Jeff Brace, Butler’s lawyer, that the earlier dates are available because there will be space for a second jury room.

He said renovations to the building are near completion and when it’s done next month, it will allow the court to hold two jury trials simultaneously.

One jury room is expected to be occupied by jurors hearing the murder trial of David Ryan, which is set to begin March 4.

Gruchy and Brace indicated they would not be in a position to begin the trial in two months.

Part of the reason, Brace said, is that they are waiting on “potentially very complex disclosure.” He said it’s genetic evidence taken from the scene of the crime, which they requested from the Crown more than a year ago and still have not received.

“It’s 2 1/2 years later (since charges were laid),” Brace said. “It’s not new DNA. It’s raw data.”

As well, they are waiting on the outcome of a Newfoundland and Labrador Court of Appeal decision for a secondary proceeding, the outcome of which could potentially affect their case, he said. The appeal in the secondary case was argued in the fall, with a decision expected soon.

“We’re very concerned about the implications of the secondary process,” said Brace, who didn’t say what the secondary proceeding was.

Goodridge asked Gruchy and Brace if that secondary case could possibly interfere with the September trial dates for their case.

“I hope it will not,” Gruchy said.

Pynn, 27, and Butler, 23, are jointly charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of Nick Winsor. Winsor was killed at a home on Portugal Cove Road in the capital city on July 9, 2011. They are also charged with attempted murder, attempted robbery, possessing a handgun, assault with a weapon and possessing a weapon while prohibited. Pynn also faces counts of pointing a firearm, breaching probation and breaching conditions of two undertakings.

The trial is expected to last eight weeks. Jury selection is expected to be held on the day it starts.

Pynn, who was denied bail and has been in jail since his arrest in July 2011, was in the courtroom for Monday’s proceedings. Butler was not there, as Brace was given permission to appear on his behalf. Butler was released on bail following a bail review in 2012.

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