There have been a couple of new developments in the Damien Starrett murder trial.
The 33-year-old Fort Saskatchewan father is facing second-degree murder charges for killing his one-year-old son Ares and assaulting his five-year-old daughter in 2019.
A publication ban was initially imposed to protect the identity of the two children involved. The ban has been modified so it now only applies to the surviving child.
"With a publication ban on Ares' name, I would no longer be able to do Ares' yearly birthday toy drive or talk about him at all amongst the public. And it just protected the accused, so you can now say his name freely. Damien Starrett is the man being held on trial for taking my son's life," wrote Ares' mother, Ashton Bishop.
On Tuesday (Mar. 22), defence lawyer Rory Ziv requested a mistrial after the jury was shown images of the injuries Ares sustained at the hands of his father. One of the jurors was so disturbed the trial took a break.
Ziv argued showing the jury these images compromised Starett's right to a fair trial, as their prejudicial effect outweighed their usefulness and could taint the jury's perception of his client.
Justice John Henderson disagreed and dismissed the application, saying the photos were relevant and helped the jury understand the baby's injuries.
Ziv then asked for his client to be tried by the judge alone for the remainder of the trial. This, Henderson allowed and he called the jury back to the courtroom, thanked them for their service and dismissed them.
Starrett is pleading not guilty, with the defence arguing that he had killed Ares but was not aware of his actions because he was in an automaton-like sleep state at the time.
The trial is scheduled to continue until Apr. 22.