More jurors test positive for COVID, manslaughter trial on hold until next week

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The trial of a man charged with manslaughter in the killing of Eduardo Balaquit has been put on hold for five days after two more jurors tested positive for COVID-19 Wednesday morning.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 06/04/2022 (239 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The trial of a man charged with manslaughter in the killing of Eduardo Balaquit has been put on hold for five days after two more jurors tested positive for COVID-19 Wednesday morning.

“They have not been discharged, they have just been asked to go home,” Queen’s Bench Justice Sadie Bond told the remaining jurors. “We are not going to proceed with the trial today in these circumstances.”

The development reduces the number of jurors on the jury to 11, down from 14 on Monday, the opening day of the trial. One juror was replaced by an alternate on Monday, after one juror reported he had tested positive for the virus. On Tuesday, another juror tested positive and was discharged. The remaining 13 jurors were provided with rapid tests, all tested negative and the trial resumed.

Kyle Pietz is accused of killing Eduardo Balaquit during a course of a robbery. (Winnipeg Free Press files)

Jurors have been told to return to court Tuesday, at which time they will all be provided with rapid tests.

“In the interim, I am going to ask that you self-monitor your symptoms and continue to self-administer the tests,” Bond said.

Balaquit, 59, disappeared June 4, 2018, after leaving home for Westcon Equipment and Rentals on Keewatin Street, where he had a long-standing contract as a cleaner. His body has never been found.

Kyle Pietz, a former employee at Westcon, is accused of killing Balaquit during a course of a robbery.

Jurors heard Tuesday police found Balaquit’s 2012 Dodge Caravan in a parking lot of a neighbouring business, with its passenger door window smashed out.

Eduardo Balaquit disappeared June 4, 2018. (Free Press files)

Pietz, 36, remains free on bail.

dean.pritchard@freepress.mb.ca

Dean Pritchard

Dean Pritchard
Courts reporter

Someone once said a journalist is just a reporter in a good suit. Dean Pritchard doesn’t own a good suit. But he knows a good lawsuit.

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