Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Accused succeeds in bid for two sex-assault trials

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A Winnipeg man accused of a random string of sexual assaults has won a legal battle to have the charges split into separate trials.

Marcus Xavier Baird, 27, was arrested last year after an extensive police investigation that included forensic analysis. He is charged with attacking a woman in her garage in February 2011, then breaking into two homes and sexually assaulting two women on consecutive days in April 2011. Baird is also accused of recording the latter two incidents on video, according to police and court documents.

None of the victims knew their alleged attacker.

Baird is facing a total of 13 charges stemming from the three incidents, including multiple counts of sexual assault, break and enter and voyeurism.

Baird has elected to be tried by a judge alone in provincial court after waiving his right to a preliminary hearing. The case is to begin next week, then adjourned until later in the year. Baird's lawyers filed a motion to break them up to avoid potential prejudice to Baird.

Provincial court Judge Robert Heinrichs ruled in Baird's favour Monday, saying the February 2011 allegations will be separated from the two attacks that April. It is now expected the February offence will be tried next month and the other charges will be tried once that trial is completed.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 5, 2013 A5

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