Skip to content

Vader decision coming next week

When you hear the verdict in the Travis Vader murder trial next week, you just might have the chance to hear it broadcast live. Justice Denny Thomas is set to deliver his verdict on Thursday morning, Sept.
The verdict in the Travis Vader trial is expected on Thursday. Vader is accused of murdering St. Albert couple Lyle and Marie McCann.
The verdict in the Travis Vader trial is expected on Thursday. Vader is accused of murdering St. Albert couple Lyle and Marie McCann.

When you hear the verdict in the Travis Vader murder trial next week, you just might have the chance to hear it broadcast live.

Justice Denny Thomas is set to deliver his verdict on Thursday morning, Sept. 15, and depending how he rules on an application Tuesday afternoon a video camera may be in the courtroom to capture what he has to say.

Lawyer Fred Kozak, representing a consortium of media organizations, made the application to allow Thomas’ decision to be broadcast on TV and the Internet.

He explained to the Gazette that while it’s common practice not to allow cameras in courtrooms in Canada, there’s nothing in the law actually preventing it. The discretion rests solely with the judge.

“The fact that it isn’t a common practice doesn’t mean it isn’t important,” he said. “It’s especially important in a case like this where there’s an immense public interest in the case.”

Kozak said he sees this as an issue of public access to the criminal justice system, and this case has garnered more attention than most.

This is due to its length and complexity, the expenditure of public money, and the fact there have been allegations of police misconduct both in the initial investigation and as part of the ongoing disclosure process, which ultimately led to a stay of proceedings and an application to dismiss the charges before the trial itself even began.

“All of those things mean there’s a heightened public interest in how our criminal justice system works,” he said. “People have been waiting for an answer for more than six years now.”

Vader is facing two counts of first-degree murder for the July 2010 deaths of St. Albert couple Lyle and Marie McCann. They were last seen buying groceries and gassing up their motorhome July 3 in St. Albert, en route to meeting their daughter in B.C. They never arrived, and their motorhome was found burning two days later at a campground near Edson.

Neither bodies nor a murder weapon have ever been recovered and during the trial court heard the motorhome, which is the presumed scene of the murder, was mishandled and compromised during the police investigation.

A three-month trial, involving dozens of witnesses and hundreds of pieces of circumstantial evidence, concluded with final arguments in June.

Kozak’s application to have the decision broadcast publicly has been supported by both Vader’s defence lawyer Brian Beresh and the McCanns’ son Bret, who attended nearly every day of the trial.

Regardless of the outcome of the application, the St. Albert Gazette will report the verdict Sept. 15 on www.stalbertgazette.com and in our Sept. 17 print edition.