FREDERICTON — A Fredericton man accused of fatally shooting four people in the city last August is one step closer to a possible trial.
Matthew Raymond is charged with four counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Fredericton police constables Sara Burns and Robb Costello, and residents Donnie Robichaud and Bobbie Lee Wright.
The accused was back in provincial court Friday following a psychiatric assessment to determine if he can be found criminally responsible for what happened.
The findings of that assessment have been sealed.
Meanwhile, the Crown confirmed Friday it will proceed by direct indictment to send the case to the Court of Queens Bench, which means there will be no preliminary hearing.
Outside court, defence lawyer Alison Menard said it would be a mistake to draw a link between the Crown's decision and the findings of the psychiatric assessment.
"It's not really fair to the process or people involved to make assumptions about what the evidence will ultimately be," Menard said.
"The fact that the Crown would choose to use one process over another ... it would not be fair for people to make assumptions about what that all means."
Preliminary hearings are typically held before criminal trials to determine if there is enough evidence to hold a trial.
Raymond was previously found fit to stand trial. That assessment simply means the accused understands why they are in court, who the people in the courtroom are and how to instruct their lawyer.
The 48-year-old man is accused of firing a long gun from his apartment window, killing Robichaud and Wright as they loaded a car for a trip on Aug. 10. Police allege Raymond shot the two officers as they responded to the scene.
Raymond has previously told a judge there is evidence that would allow him to be "exonerated."
He has yet to enter pleas to the charges. That's expected to happen once the process begins at the Court of Queen's Bench.
He is expected to appear in Court of Queens Bench sometime before April 8, when proceedings at the provincial court level will be wrapped up.
Kevin Bissett, The Canadian Press