Trial of man accused in Riverview teacher shooting may not resume until November

A mugshot of Janson Baker from an agreed statement of facts in his trial on charges that include attempting to murder a teacher in Riverview in 2021. (RCMP/Court of King's Bench exhibit - image credit)
A mugshot of Janson Baker from an agreed statement of facts in his trial on charges that include attempting to murder a teacher in Riverview in 2021. (RCMP/Court of King's Bench exhibit - image credit)

The trial of a Moncton man accused of attempting to murder a Riverview teacher in 2021 may not resume until November at the earliest.

Janson Bryan Baker, 27, faces 16 charges, including attempting to murder and rob teacher Christopher Leger with a sawed-off 12-gauge shotgun outside Riverview High School on Jan. 5, 2021.

His trial by judge alone in Moncton's Court of King's Bench began May 27 but halted June 3 to give Baker's lawyer time to secure an expert witness for his defence about whether he could form the necessary intent.

Justice Richard Petrie, Baker and the Crown and defence lawyers held a conference call Friday morning to discuss the status of that search, and potentially set dates for the trial to continue.

Alex Pate, Baker's lawyer, told the judge that they had secured an Ontario forensic psychiatrist who would likely not be able to interview Baker until sometime in September. The doctor's report would need to be provided to the Crown prosecutor before the trial resumes.

Up to 4 more trial days expected, defence says

Prosecutor Malika Levesque also said they may seek to have their own expert witness interview Baker.

Pate told the judge he expects they will need three to four more trial days. The lawyers agreed to look for potential dates.

Petrie asked the lawyers for a general timeframe so the court could try to find time that works. Levesque said given the timeframe required to have Baker interviewed and a report prepared, November might be best.

The judge and lawyers are expected to confirm the dates during another conference call July 22.

Baker's trial was scheduled to last up to four weeks, but he admitted various details that shortened the number of witnesses the Crown called to testify.

In an agreed statement of facts, Baker says he admits he committed the actus reus of the offences, a Latin phrase for guilty act. It's one component of a crime, with the other being the mens rea, or intention or knowledge of wrongdoing.

Baker has not pleaded guilty.

The agreed statement of facts says Baker was the lone occupant of a 2020 Hyundai Elantra on Jan. 5, 2021, on the Riverview High School property when he drove up to Leger and Joshua Hebb, threatened them, pointed the shotgun at them, and then shot Leger.

It says Baker then fled and was found in Amherst, N.S., the following day.

Pate has said the defence wanted to find an expert witness to address whether intoxication would affect Baker's ability to form intent given his level of intoxication.