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Cold case murder trial delayed with accused in hospital

Joseph Thauberger faces first-degree murder charge in 1997 death of his brother.

REGINA – The first day of a trial for a man accused of killing his brother more than 25 years ago was supposed to begin today, but will be put on pause.

Joseph Thauberger, 80, is facing charges of first-degree murder and offering an indignity to human remains in relation to the death of his brother, Patrick Cyril Thauberger, on Sept. 3, 1997. Back in December of 2020, police announced a major break in the cold case - the discovery of human remains in a rural location - then confirmed in June of 2021 that they were Patrick.

Joseph Thauberger was arrested on Nov. 30, 2020, and was denied bail a month later on Dec. 24. In July, 2021, Thauberger was released on conditions after a $25,000 payment.

A voir dire was held in March of this year, with a publication ban placed by Justice Janet McMurtry. Today’s appearance in Regina Court of King’s Bench was to determine whether evidence during the voir dire would be admissible, however, Joseph Thauberger could not attend the morning session.

“For the next couple days, he’s not going to be in a position to appear in court,” said Thauberger’s lawyer, Tyne Hagey, explaining that he is currently seeking treatment in hospital. Hagey, who appeared via phone at her client’s bedside, favoured adjourning the matter until at least June 8 “for an update” into Thauberger’s condition, which the Crown opposed.

“We have heard nothing, really, about Mr. Thauberger’s condition from Ms. Hagey thus far,” said Crown prosecutor Adam Breker, adding that he hoped to learn more sooner than Thursday. “It seems to us that setting it over to Thursday simply for an update is quite a long period of time.”

Breker asked for an update on Thauberger’s condition tomorrow morning at the latest.

“Mr Thauberger in the past has indicated on the record that he expected this trial would not proceed because he was going to take himself out of the equation by that time, so we are certainly concerned about that,” Breker told the court.

Hagey explained to the Court in detail what immediate medical measures are being faced, and Justice McMurtry ultimately decided to adjourn until tomorrow morning.

Four weeks have been set aside for the trial.

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