HALIFAX —; Notorious crime figure Jimmy Melvin Jr. will be heading straight to trial on a murder charge, thanks to a rarely used legal move.
Melvin, 33, was arrested in July and charged with first-degree murder the 2009 slaying of Terry Marriott Jr., a rival gang leader in the city. Melvin was also charged with attempting to murder Marriott a year prior to his death.
Patrick MacEwen, defence lawyer for Melvin, has confirmed to Global News that the Crown attorney on the case will be filing a preferred indictment on the charge. That means a preliminary hearing will not take place and the matter will proceed directly to trial at the Nova Scotia Supreme Court.
Typically, a preliminary hearing would take place after charges are laid to see if there is enough evidence for the matter to proceed to trial. MacEwen says the Crown attorney’s decision to file a preferred indictment isn’t a setback to the case, but that it is, “disappointing that the Crown has decided to proceed in this manner”.
“The vast majority of individuals charged with serious offences in Canada are afforded the opportunity to test the Crown’s case and examine their witnesses,” MacEwen tells Global News. “Due to the Crown’s actions, Mr. Melvin will not be given that opportunity which will certainly affect the manner in which the matter is brought to trial.”
In Melvin’s murder case, it’s believed former associate, Derek Thomas MacPhee, will testify on the Crown’s behalf.
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Chris Hansen, the Director of Communications for the province’s Public Prosecution Services, would not comment on whether or not a motion for a preferred indictment will take place when the matter heads to Nova Scotia Supreme Court in January.
Hansen says although a preferred indictment does occur elsewhere in the country, it rarely happens in Nova Scotia. “It’s not something that we do frequently,” she said.
There is a provision in the Criminal Code that allows for a preferred indictment. On average, the province would see one case the designation every five or six years.
Last year, however, was the exception. Two separate cases proceeded by preferred indictment, one of which was the murder case against Paul Trevor Calnen, who was ultimately found guilty of the second-degree murder of his girlfriend, Reita Louise Jordan.