A preliminary hearing before Justice Alison J. Wheeler was stalled on Tuesday by the illness of accused murderer Roy Douglas Snyder.
Snyder, who is charged with first-degree murder and possession of a weapon, was indeed visibly ill as he entered courtroom one at the Ontario Court of Justice in Kingston on Tuesday morning, Dec. 20, 2022. The accused, who had his long dark hair in a ponytail, appeared to shake uncontrollably as he sat in the prisoner’s dock.
Defence lawyer Mary Cremer of Cremer Barristers Professional Corporation in Toronto told Justice Wheeler that she had met with Mr. Snyder prior to court and that she “wanted to advise Your Honour that he woke up this morning with… severe muscle and body pain… He had chills this morning and now he is hot, but the main symptom that is going to affect his ability to concentrate on the evidence is that he [has] severe muscle pain right now.”
Snyder had advised Cremer that he did not want to delay the proceedings, but she again voiced concern that he would not be able to concentrate on the evidence being given in court. She went on to say that Snyder had mentioned to a nurse who was administering his methadone earlier in the morning that he wasn’t well, but no one was available to examine him at that time.
Cremer apologized for the situation and said, “On behalf of my client and as an officer of the court, I am left with no choice but to ask Your Honour for an adjournment to allow my client to seek medical attention, so we can get this under control. I know he does not want matters delayed, but I do have an obligation, Your Honour, to my client.” She promised to monitor the situation for any changes or worsening of Snyder’s condition and to update the judge and Crown accordingly.
After considering Snyder’s condition, Justice Wheeler allowed the court to postpone the continuation of the hearing to Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2022, so that Snyder could access medical attention.
Snyder stands accused of murdering David “Jaeger” Hodgson, a 51-year-old man living in Kingston, who was stabbed in the parking lot of the Integrated Care Hub (ICH) on Montreal Street in the early morning hours of Monday, Jan.10, 2022. Hodgson died shortly thereafter, and Snyder was arrested and charged later that day.
The first day of the preliminary hearing, Monday, Dec. 19, was an emotional one as Assistant Crown Attorney Courtney Cottle began to lay out the case against Snyder for Justice Wheeler, who will decide if there is enough evidence to send the case to trial. Some members of the victim’s family who were in court were seen crying, and witnesses to the crime broke down on the stand as they described the evening Mr. Hodgson was killed.
Snyder could be seen to be breathing heavily from time to time throughout the day as he sat in the prisoner’s dock.
Cottle submitted video evidence from the night of the murder and called three witnesses to the stand, all of whom were cross-examined by Cremer. Tuesday’s schedule was set to include three more witnesses to be called by the Crown, but that testimony will now be delayed until Wednesday morning.
An order under Section 539 of the Criminal Code of Canada bans the publication of evidence given at a preliminary hearing until either the charges against the accused have been dismissed or, if ordered to stand trial, the trial has ended. In cases where a file is transferred from the provincial court to the Supreme Court for the purposes of trial, the ban remains in force until the trial has ended. However, the ban does not apply to any evidence given during the trial.
A preliminary hearing is held by the court to decide whether there is enough evidence to send the case to trial. Preliminary hearings are only held for indictable offences. At the preliminary hearing, the Crown presents the most important parts of the evidence against the accused and may call witnesses to give evidence.
The court will dismiss the charge if it finds that there is not enough evidence to send the case to trial. The court commits the accused person to trial if there is enough evidence to support a trial, and if the accused pleads not guilty, the court sets a trial date.
If his case goes to trial, Snyder has elected that his trial be heard by a judge and jury.
Kingstonist will continue to provide coverage of this case as the preliminary hearing progresses.