Brian Malley trial enters voir dire in third week

  • Feb. 4, 2015 4:03 p.m.

As the trial of a man accused of murder opened for its third week in Red Deer’s Court of Queen’s Bench, the trial entered into a voir dire on Monday.

Brian Malley, 57, is charged with first-degree murder, causing an explosion of an explosive substance likely to cause serious bodily harm, death or serious damage to property and sending or delivering to a person an explosive device in relation to the death of Victoria Shachtay in 2011.

The charges stem after an explosion occurred inside Shachtay’s Innisfail residence in November 2011. The incident occurred after a package disguised as a Christmas gift was delivered to the home which RCMP confirmed was the source of the explosion.

Malley was arrested in Red Deer on May 25th, 2012.

Shachtay, 23, was disabled and in a wheelchair from a car collision that happened in 2004. She was also a single mother to a then seven-year-old girl.

RCMP have confirmed Malley had known Shachtay for a number of years and acted as her financial adviser.

On Monday, no witnesses were called and instead the trial entered into a voir dire. A publication ban was issued on what was discussed during the voir dire as the jury was not present during those proceedings.

Last week, the jury heard from a witness who was deemed an expert in forensic DNA analysis.

Gregory Litzenberger testified that he reviewed data from a number of exhibits sent in by the RCMP.

A very small sample of DNA was taken from a piece of paper found at the scene. Litzenberger said the sample was less than one nannogram. It was less than the optimal sample amount, but more than double the minimum parameters, he added.

The DNA sample was consistent with a sample of Malley which was taken off of a napkin he used at a Wendy’s restaurant.

Defense lawyer Bob Aloneissi asked Litzenberger whether or not DNA could be easily transferred from a person to an object via another person by shaking hands, for example.

Litzenberger said while it is possible it is very unlikely.

The trial continues in Red Deer’s Court of Queen’s Bench this week and is expected to last another four weeks.