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Busy court docket kicks off today

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Schools won’t be the only busy institutions in Winnipeg this week. The law courts are crowded with an unusually large number of trials.

It’s rare in Winnipeg to have more than two or three jury cases sitting at one time but six jury cases are on the docket, and three of them are homicides. The cases are as follows:

❚ JOSEPH HEAD: Charged with second-degree murder for the January 2009 shooting death of Shawn Beauchamp, 26. The victim was shot in the area of St. John’s Avenue and Charles Street. Head’s trial begins Tuesday and is slated to last up to three weeks.

❚ ELWYN EVANS: Charged with numerous weapons-related offences following a raid of an Interlake property in 2006. Police seized several high-powered firearms in Komarno, about 75 kilometres north of Winnipeg. His trial begins Tuesday and is slated to last up to four weeks.

❚ TENNESSEE WEEDMARK: Charged with second-degree murder for a June 2009 attack that killed Albert Goosehead III, 12. The boy was beaten inside a house on Bloodvein First Nation. Weedmark’s trial begins Sept. 10 and is slated to last up to three weeks.

❚ MARTIN DERKSEN: Charged with sexual assault. No other details known. Derksen’s trial begins Sept. 10 and is slated to last a week.

❚ NICHOLAS SOMERS: Charged with manslaughter for a July 2010 fight outside a Corydon Avenue bar. Gary Rent, 33, died in hospital of injuries suffered during an assault outside Bar Italia. The trial for Somers begins Sept. 24 and is slated to last up to three weeks.

❚ GERARDO LAGOS: Charged with aggravated assault after a man was shot in the leg outside a Portage Avenue bar in 2007. His trial begins Sept. 24 and is slated to last up to two weeks.

In addition to the six jury trials, there are several other high-profile cases set to begin in September that are being heard by judge alone, including:

❚ DARYL COTE: The former head of a Winnipeg-based native health-care agency is charged with two counts of theft over $5,000 and two counts of fraud over $5,000. Cote is alleged to have stolen $1,028,050 from Anishinaabe Mino-Ayaawin Inc. (AMA) and $310,150 from the Dauphin River First Nation, of which he used to be the co-manager. Cote’s trial begins Tuesday and is slated to last five weeks.

❚ WALID ABDELHAMID: The former Winnipeg doctor is accused of sexually assaulting a teenage patient while working at Health Sciences Centre in 2009. Abdelhamid fled to Greece after being released on bail and was extradited to Canada nearly two years later. His trial begins Sept. 4 and is slated to last up to three weeks.

There are several major sentencing hearings set for September, including a handful of homicide cases, which will have the courthouse hopping on a daily basis. Court hearings are open to the public.

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