Tyler Hikoalok murder trial set to resume Tuesday as case turns to defence

Tyler Hikoalok has been charged with first-degree murder in the 2018 death of Elisabeth Salm.

Tyler Hikoalok’s first-degree murder trial is set to resume this week after a two-month pause — a rare lengthy break in the midst of a jury trial — with the case now turning to the defence to call its first evidence and testimony.

Hikoalok’s defence team of Michael Smith and Brook Laforest had initially been scheduled to open their case in early October, following the close of the Crown’s evidence against Hikoalok in the 2018 killing of 59-year-old church librarian Elisabeth Salm.

The reasons for the delay remain shielded by a strict publication ban, with Superior Court Justice Anne London-Weinstein asking the jury not to “speculate” about the delay and to avoid researching the case during the break.

Hikoalok has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in a killing prosecutors described as a “vicious and brutal attack” that left Salm clinging to life inside the Christian Science Reading Room on May 24, 2018. She was found by a co-worker hours later and was rushed to hospital, where she died the following day.

The Crown concluded its case against Hikoalok on Sept. 29 by presenting the jury a series of admissions drafted in agreement with Hikoalok’s defence team.

The jury was instructed to accept as proven fact that the DNA profile identified on Salm’s body is a positive match with the DNA profile of Hikoalok.

Experts with the Centre of Forensic Sciences linked Hikoalok’s DNA profile to semen found on the victim’s body, and later found Salm’s blood on a shoe and a bracelet Hikoalok wore at the time of his arrest.

The “chain of custody, continuity and integrity” of all the exhibits swabbed from the crime scene, from Salm’s body and those seized from Hikoalok during his arrest were also admitted as fact.

Video surveillance showing Hikoalok on Laurier Avenue near the reading room on the day Salm was killed was also admitted as fact, as Hikoalok is seen walking toward the building’s front entrance at 9:14 a.m. that day, then leaving through a separate exit at 10:21 a.m.

Prior to the break, the jury was instructed to accept as fact the “continuity and accuracy” of that video surveillance footage, along with video evidence showing Hikoalok arriving at the Debbie Campbell Learning Academy at 440 Albert St. about 40 minutes later.

According to the Crown’s case, presented to the jury over the trial’s first three weeks by Assistant Crown attorneys Brian Holowka and Lisa Miles, Hikoalok had changed his clothes and into shorts and a T-shirt by the time he arrived at his old school.

According to testimony from his former teacher at the downtown alternative school, he had also recently cut his distinctive hair.

Hikoalok’s jeans and the “Tribe” branded hoodie he was seen wearing in the first video were never located or recovered during the investigation, Miles told the jury.

Several school officials testified at trial and noted “nothing out of the ordinary” with Hikoalok or his demeanour when he showed up at the academy that day. He had formerly attended classes at the school until leaving the program following his 18th birthday in January 2018.

Hikoalok was first identified as a suspect in Salm’s killing by two Ottawa police officers who recognized him after his image — taken from a still of the surveillance video — was circulated among police.

The officers recognized Hikoalok from a prior interaction, court heard, but the jury was instructed to avoid reading too much into that fact.

Before adjourning the trial, London-Weinstein apologized to the jury for the inconvenience caused by the “longer break”.

The jury was selected in early September, and jurors were told at the time to expect a five-week trial.

“This type of adjournment does occur from time to time in our criminal justice system,” London-Weinstein told the jury. “And I can assure you the decision (to adjourn) was not one taken lightly. It was done for an important reason and I ask you not speculate as to what that reason might be.”

The jury had initially been instructed to return to duty on Monday, though that return date has since been pushed back to Tuesday.

ahelmer@postmedia.com

Related

NEWS RELATED

Dollar flat as market braces for central bank decisions later in the week

Dollar flat as market braces for central bank decisions later in the week By Geoffrey Smith Investing.com — The dollar was up modestly in early trading in Europe on Monday, at the start of a key week for central bank meetings on both sides of the Atlantic. By 03:00 ...

View more: Dollar flat as market braces for central bank decisions later in the week

BRAUN: Will bike lanes on Yonge St. become permanent?

Citizens groups and biking advocates are duking it out over the bike lanes on Yonge St., between Bloor St. and Davisville Ave. The Yonge St. bike lanes running from Bloor St. to Davisville Ave. are a hotly contested bit of infrastructure. Some see them as a congestion nightmare, others ...

View more: BRAUN: Will bike lanes on Yonge St. become permanent?

India’s Kareena Kapoor Khan Wraps ‘The Devotion of Suspect X,’ Detective Thriller: ‘Films Are Shockingly Different'(EXCLUSIVE)

India’s Kareena Kapoor Khan Wraps ‘The Devotion of Suspect X,’ Detective Thriller: ‘Films Are Shockingly Different'(EXCLUSIVE) Bollywood A-lister Kareena Kapoor Khan is marking a new phase in her glittering career with a brace of films that she terms as “shockingly different.” Kapoor Khan has wrapped a project that shot ...

View more: India’s Kareena Kapoor Khan Wraps ‘The Devotion of Suspect X,’ Detective Thriller: ‘Films Are Shockingly Different'(EXCLUSIVE)

Philips cuts 6,000 more jobs after sleep device recall

Philips announced a global recall in 2021 of its appliances to treat people suffering from sleep apnoea Embattled Dutch medical tech maker Philips said on Monday it will slash 6,000 more jobs worldwide after fresh losses caused by a massive recall of faulty sleep respirators. Chief Executive Roy Jakobs ...

View more: Philips cuts 6,000 more jobs after sleep device recall

GLOBAL MARKETS-Shares shaky as rate-hike week looms

* Fed seen hiking 25 bps, ECB and BOE by 50 bps * Technology giants lead host of earnings results * Shares edge down after roaring January rally By Wayne Cole and Lawrence White SYDNEY/LONDON, Jan 30 (Reuters) – Shares slipped on Monday at the start of an agenda-setting week ...

View more: GLOBAL MARKETS-Shares shaky as rate-hike week looms

Chiefs’ replayed down controversy, explained: Why AFC championship game officials wiped out KC play

Chiefs’ replayed down controversy, explained: Why AFC championship game officials wiped out KC play The Chiefs vs. Bengals AFC championship game took a turn for the conspiracy-minded when, in a 20-20 game in the fourth quarter, the Chiefs were given an extra shot at convering on third down because ...

View more: Chiefs’ replayed down controversy, explained: Why AFC championship game officials wiped out KC play

Debating the privatization of health care

In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what’s on the radar of our editors for the morning of Jan. 30 … What we are watching in Canada … Federal New Democrat Leader Jagmeet Singh says he will ...

View more: Debating the privatization of health care

Is there a 'Monday Night Football' game tonight? NFL schedule, TV channels for Pro Bowl, Super Bowl 57

Is there a ‘Monday Night Football’ game tonight? NFL schedule, TV channels for Pro Bowl, Super Bowl 57 The NFL playoffs are nearly complete with the Super Bowl 57 matchup now set. “Monday Night Football” has become a staple not just in the regular season, but in the early ...

View more: Is there a 'Monday Night Football' game tonight? NFL schedule, TV channels for Pro Bowl, Super Bowl 57

More than 15 people killed in new attack by suspected members of ADF armed group

3 Takeaways From Bruins’ 4-3 Overtime Loss to Panthers

Royal Family: Princess Diana's butler Paul Burrell shares life changing cancer diagnosis for first time on ITV's Lorraine

Tearful Paul Burrell, 64, reveals he has prostate cancer

Nova Scotia adjudicator writes small claims court decision in Mi'kmaw

McIlroy overcomes Reed, wins Dubai Desert Classic by 1 shot

How investors can change their approach to tackling challenging market conditions

Peter Sloly: No longer police chief, but he's sticking with Ottawa

U.S. actress Annie Wersching dies at age 45

'Where is home for me?' N.B. artist from Sierra Leone looks for answers in new production

RCMP on P.E.I. warn of fraudulent missing persons posts on social media

Impressive stat favors Eagles ahead of Super Bowl LVIII

OTHER NEWS