KENTVILLE - Sporting a Toronto Maple Leaf’s hockey jersey and a big smile, a man facing two counts of first-degree murder dating from 15 years ago made his way into Supreme Court for a pre-trial conference.
Leslie Douglas Greenwood, 46, is charged with the first-degree murders of Barry Kirk Mersereau and Nancy Paula Christensen. The couple was shot to death in their Centre Burlington, Hants County home in September 2000.
Greenwood’s Jan. 15 pre-trial conference began with him requesting a couple minutes to talk with Nova Scotia Legal Aid lawyer Ken Greer. Although he didn’t get into specifics, Greer said Legal Aid took the “exceptional step” to remove him from the case. He said he appreciated their concerns and applied to withdraw as solicitor of record.
Greenwood didn’t oppose the application, which was granted by Judge Gregory Warner.
“If it’s going to cause him grief, I’ll let him (Greer) go,” Greenwood said. “I have no clue what’s going on here legally.”
Warner expressed concern that this could further delay the trial, but lawyers Mark Knox and Trevor McGuigan are now preparing to represent Greenwood.
It’s possible that Knox will have to ask to be relieved as well due to a “potential conflict with a defence witness.” However, Knox said he wants to remain on the file.
Warner asked Greenwood if he has any other means to secure legal representation if Knox has to withdraw. Greenwood, who pointed out that he’s been in jail for five years, said he is aboriginal and has options. He said that if he could get out on bail, he could earn money as a lobster fisherman or mechanic and possibly pay for lawyers.
“We’re looking at an extreme delay of process,” Greenwood said. “I think it’s abusive, what the Crown is doing here.”
Greenwood has yet to make application for a bail hearing. He remains in custody on a due course of law remand.
Warner said he is aware Greenwood has “made a demand” that Crown prosecutor Peter Craig be taken off the case. The other Crown prosecutor involved with the case is Shauna MacDonald.
Warner pointed out that there is an outstanding motion from Greenwood for further Crown disclosure. Knox said he has yet to review all material disclosed to date and McGuigan said he hasn’t had a chance to review any of it, having met Greenwood for the first time earlier that day.
“We’re both on the same page Mr. Greenwood,” Warner said. “I want this to proceed quickly but not in an unfair manner.”
Outside the courtroom, McGuigan said he doubts the possibility that the trial would proceed in March as tentatively set.
Warner adjourned the matters to Feb. 5 to allow time for Knox to resolve his potential conflict and for McGuigan to determine if he has Greenwood’s confidence. A back-up date of Feb. 10 was also set.
McGuigan said that, given the little contact they’ve had, there seems to be “no difficulty on Greenwood’s part.” Greenwood said, “I like Mr. McGuigan.”
“I’m with you Judge, I want to get this going,” Greenwood said.
- Greenwood is originally from Colchester County and is a former resident of East Mountain, Pictou County, and Bramber, Hants County.
- He was convicted of the Centre Burlington murders following a three-week Supreme Court jury trial concluding in May 2012.The convictions were later overturned.
- The September 2014 Court of Appeals decision to overturn Greenwood’s convictions stems from the use of hearsay evidence in the first trial.
- Greenwood is back in Nova Scotia to face charges here after a mistrial was declared in Quebec in December. There, he remains charged with the first-degree murders of Kirk Murray and Antonio Onesi in Notre-Dame-de-Grace in 2010, as well as conspiracy to commit murder. The jury was unable to agree on a verdict, leading to a mistrial.
- Greenwood told Warner his re-trial in Quebec wouldn’t take place until 2018, possibly not until 2020.