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Jury Selection in Halifax Standoff

March 8, 2005 permalink

Jury selection has begun for the trial of Larry Finck and Carline VandenElsen.



Tuesday, March 8, 2005, The Halifax Herald Limited

Jury selection underway in Halifax standoff case

By BILL POWER / Staff Reporter

Jury selection began Monday in the Nova Scotia Supreme Court trial of a couple charged after a three-day standoff with police in Halifax last May.

Carline VandenElsen and Lawrence Finck entered not guilty pleas to eight charges each, including unlawful confinement and obstructing police.

Justice Robert Wright has set aside three days for jury selection and indicated the trial could last at least six weeks. The court will not sit on Fridays.

The Halifax courtroom was filled with prospective jurors. The selection process included questions about prior knowledge of the case.

"A juror must be able to make a decision just on information presented at trial," Justice Wright said.

A handful of jurors' spots were filled by the end of the day.

Throughout most of the proceedings, Ms. VandenElsen and Mr. Finck, who sat beside each other, chatted back and forth, shared whispers and looked over papers together.

Ms. VandenElsen was accompanied by her lawyer, Burnley (Rocky) Jones, while Mr. Finck was with lawyer Raymond Kuszelewski.

Prosecutors Rick Woodburn and Leonard MacKay are presenting the Crown's case.

Justice Wright indicated there will be a lot of evidence to consider and an above average number of witnesses.

Halifax Regional Police and RCMP officers involved in the armed standoff on Shirley Street will be called to the stand, as will officials from the province's Community Services Department and staff from the Children's Aid Society of Halifax.

Some Shirley Street residents and two local news reporters are also on the lengthy witness list.

The only unexpected development Monday was the addition to the evidence list of three weapons and some ammunition, but details were not provided. Police seized a 12-gauge shotgun after the standoff.

Ms. VandenElsen and Mr. Finck are charged with violating a court order by detaining and concealing a baby that was to be turned over to the Children's Aid Society of Halifax. They are also charged with unlawful confinement, obstructing police and several weapons offences.

The standoff began after police tried to enforce a court order to place a child in the temporary care of Children's Aid.

Mr. Finck's mother, who had heart problems and was in the Shirley Street house, died of natural causes during the standoff.

Source: Halifax Herald