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Trial rescheduled for man accused of shooting Riverview teacher

Janson Bryan Baker, 27, of Moncton is accused of attempting to murder a teacher outside Riverview High School in January 2021. (Janson Baker/Facebook - image credit)
Janson Bryan Baker, 27, of Moncton is accused of attempting to murder a teacher outside Riverview High School in January 2021. (Janson Baker/Facebook - image credit)

A Moncton man whose trial dates on an attempted murder charge have twice been cancelled after changing lawyers now has new dates set for late May,  though there's a risk the case could be delayed again.

A four-week trial of Janson Bryan Baker, 27, was scheduled to begin last week on various charges, including the attempted murder of Christopher Leger with a sawed-off 12-gauge shotgun on Jan. 5, 2021, outside Riverview High School.

However, the trial dates were cancelled because he opted to change lawyers. The case was originally supposed to go to trial in 2022, but those dates were also cancelled because he changed lawyers.

Baker is now represented by defence lawyer Alex Pate. Baker and Pate appeared in Moncton's Court of King's Bench on Monday to reschedule the trial.

However, Pate warned Justice Jean-Paul Ouellette that there's a chance he may not be able to represent Baker.

Alex Pate is the defense lawyer representing Steven Laurette in this case.
Alex Pate is the defense lawyer representing Steven Laurette in this case.

Alex Pate, shown in a file photo, is the defence lawyer representing Baker. (Pascal Raiche-Nogue/Radio-Canada)

Pate said a Crown prosecutor in another case involving Baker has raised conflict-of-interest concerns about his being represented by the law firm Pate works for.

Pate said he only recently heard about that issue and should know more later this week.

He said he is being asked to sign something before being able to get the information and can't divulge it in court.

"This may need to be litigated," Pate said. "We may disagree that there's a conflict."

The conflict concern arose in the case where Baker is charged with two counts of first-degree murder.

It's alleged he killed 78-year-old Bernard Saulnier and 74-year-old Rose-Marie Saulnier on Sept. 7, 2019.

Baker had applied to get a lawyer through legal aid in that case, and Nathan Gorham was named as his lawyer. Pate works for Gorham's firm.

Gorham previously represented Jesse Todd Logue, who led a drug trafficking network that used a home owned by the Saulnier's son. That home was raided by police on Aug. 28, 2019, days before the couple were killed.

Baker was charged in their deaths last September. He returns to court in that case on Feb. 2.

If there is an issue that could affect the attempted murder trial, Baker may need yet another lawyer and would be returning to court Feb. 5.

If there isn't an issue, the case is scheduled to be tried by a judge alone from May 27 to June 21.

Baker is charged with attempting to murder Christopher Leger outside Riverview High School on Jan. 5, 2021.
Baker is charged with attempting to murder Christopher Leger outside Riverview High School on Jan. 5, 2021.

Baker is accused of attempting to murder Christopher Leger outside Riverview High School on Jan. 5, 2021. (Shane Magee/CBC News)

Ouellette originally sought to get the trial dates set sooner, suggesting starting in March or April.

Pate repeatedly objected to anything before May, saying the evidence in the case that he has to review is "massive," involving many pages of documents and video.

"It will take me probably several months to prepare," Pate said, later saying it was one of the largest files he's seen.

Crown prosecutor Maurice Blanchard rejected starting the trial in late April as he's handling a first-degree murder jury trial expected to last four weeks.

"That matter is going ahead, another major file," Blanchard said.

The sides settled on starting Baker's trial immediately after that other case ends.

"We're ready for this trial, I'll be good to go," Blanchard said when the judge asked if he would instead want more time between the major cases.

Pate said he was supposed to be in provincial court for several other cases over the four weeks, but he would clear his schedule to make Baker's trial work.