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Accused Sweeney killer headed to pre-trial meeting Nov. 20

Robert Steven Wright faces second-degree charges as Crown successful in direct indictment

A pre-trial meeting between Robert Steven Wright's lawyers and Crown prosecutors will take place Nov. 20.

Pre-trial meetings are not open to the public.

Wright was first charged with first-degree murder for the 1998 death of Renée Sweeney, a 23-year-old Laurentian University music student.

Sweeney was working at an adult video store on Paris Street at 11 a.m. on Jan. 27, 1998, when she was attacked and stabbed to death.

Wright was an 18-year-old high school student at Lockerby Composite at the time Sweeney was killed.

On Dec. 11, 2018, he was arrested at the North Bay Regional Health Centre, where he worked as a laboratory technician.

Police held a press conference on Dec. 12, 2018, announcing that they believed they had solved the 20-year-old murder. You can watch that press conference below.

Wright is being represented by lawyers Michael Venturi and Berk Keaney, who has handled several high-profile trials in the city in his career. 

The first-degree murder charge was downgraded to second-degree murder as the Crown was successful in its request for a direct indictment, which means Wright will go directly to trial. There will be no preliminary hearing. 

Wright's lawyers have taken issue with that, stating the move takes away their client's right to prove insufficient evidence to proceed to trial.

Furthermore, a conflict of interest hearing has been rescheduled. The Crown is calling for Wright's lawyers, Keaney and Venturi, to be removed as counsel. A new date has not yet been set.

Wright will return to court via CCTV on Sept. 26 for his child pornography charge. His lawyers, however, have expressed confidence in that charge being dropped.

Wright was denied bail in March. A publication ban has been imposed concerning evidence at the bail hearing. 

The former Sudburian was arrested Dec. 11 at North Bay Regional Health Centre.


Arron Pickard

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