Man to be tried for murder, interfering with body of Nova Scotia police officer

By The Canadian Press
July 12, 2016 - 6:06am

HALIFAX — A man accused of killing an off-duty Nova Scotia police officer and disposing of her body near a Halifax bridge will be committed to stand trial.

Christopher Calvin Garnier, 28, was in court Monday for a preliminary hearing on charges that he committed second-degree murder and interfered with a dead body in the death of Truro officer Catherine Campbell last September.

Outside of court, Crown lawyer Christine Driscoll said 10 or 11 witnesses would be called during the hearing, which is usually held to determine if a judge finds there is enough evidence to commit an accused to trial.

But Driscoll said defence lawyer Joel Pink agreed to a trial, so the witness list was reduced.

"Mr. Pink has consented to committal. ... Sometimes it happens. He provided a number of names he was interested in hearing from and we agreed to subpoena them," she said. Pink declined comment outside of the court.

A publication ban has been placed upon all evidence discussed at the preliminary hearing, which is set for four days.

Garnier appeared in the warm, packed courtroom wearing a blue suit and a pink dress shirt, and members of both his and Campbell's families also were in the room.

The Halifax resident was charged after the 36-year-old constable's remains were found last Sept. 16 near the base of an overpass leading to a Halifax bridge.

A sworn affidavit from an RCMP officer obtained prior to the hearing says Garnier allegedly told police he punched and strangled Campbell at an apartment in the city.

Police have said that early in the morning of Sept. 11, Garnier was recorded on surveillance video rolling a green recycling bin down a city street in his bare feet, returning half hour later with no green bin.

The RCMP officer who swore the affidavit said he believed the video showed Garnier attempting to remove evidence and Campbell's body from the scene.

The documents allege the key to a vehicle and a gym membership tag, both belonging to Campbell, were found in a dumpster within 30 metres of the address, where Garnier's friend lives.

It also said blood evidence was found on the floor and wall of the family room at the McCully Street address as well as on the pull-out sofa and the door handles of the cleaning supplies cabinet.

The allegations have not been proven in court.

Campbell served as a volunteer firefighter for 10 years in her hometown of Stellarton.

Her family has said she held a variety of jobs in the community before deciding to train as a police officer, finding a job in Truro as soon as she graduated six years ago.

During her funeral in Stellarton over a hundred police officers and firefighters lined the main street of her hometown as her coffin was brought to the Presbyterian church.

Michael Tutton, The Canadian Press

©2016 The Canadian Press

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