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In denying the request, the court noted the videoconferencing platform it has been using to hear appeals “works very effectively.”
“It permits the Court and all parties to engage in simultaneous visual and oral communication,” the unanimous decision read. “Furthermore, given that two days have been set for the hearing of these appeals, we observe that the proceedings can unfold at a pace that will permit breaks at regular intervals to allow for consultations, as necessary, between the appellants and their counsel, and among counsel.”
The court found hearing the appeals by video won’t negatively impact anyone.
“We are satisfied that the fairness of the process will not be compromised by hearing the appeals in this fashion and that, given the health and safety risks of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is appropriate to proceed in this way,” read the decision, signed by Justices Robert Leurer, Jerome Tholl and Jeff Kalmakoff.
Bellegarde, Gordon and Theodore were each found guilty of first-degree murder following trial and subsequently appealed their convictions and life sentences. Court heard 34-year-old Lee was confined upon visiting Gordon’s Regina apartment on April 16, 2015. He was taken to a Garnet Street house where, sometime during the night, he was fatally shot. Court heard he was then dismembered by Theodore and Bellegarde, who were further convicted of offering an indignity to human remains.
Lee was found later that month, buried in a shallow grave on the edge of the Star Blanket First Nation.