Courtroom full as Boudreau no-shows

CanWest News Service
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BRIDGEWATER - Emotions are still raw in this normally quiet Nova Scotia town where a mother is accused of murdering her 12-year-old daughter, Karissa Boudreau, last winter.
Penny Boudreau wasn't at the Bridgewater provincial court building for a scheduled appearance - her lawyer asked the court before the hearing for permission to appear on her behalf - but that didn't stop interested onlookers from filling the court room.
There was no repeat of the jeering and name-calling a week earlier when Boudreau was brought to the same building to be formally charged with first-degree murder - more than 100 people lined a small laneway behind the provincial courthouse when Boudreau was led away in handcuffs by sheriff's deputies.
Bridgewater resident Sherry Bristol went to the courthouse for the brief hearing. She had waited outside last week and says she plans to come back.
"I feel kind of connected to the case," she said. "I feel really bad about the whole thing."
Bristol said she's disappointed Boudreau wasn't in court Tuesday.
"She should be facing everybody in this town," she said.
Another onlooker, who didn't want to give her name to reporters, said she was at the court to support Boudreau and see she gets a fair trial.
"I don't blame her for not wanting to be here today after what happened last week," the woman said.
Boudreau remains in custody at a Halifax remand centre. She is scheduled to be back in court July 15 to set dates for a preliminary inquiry.
The frozen body of Karissa Boudreau was found on the bank of the LaHave River on Feb. 9, just a few kilometres from the courthouse. The youngster was reported missing by her mother on Jan. 27 after the two argued.
Within days of police launching a missing persons investigation, Boudreau made a tearful televised appeal for her daughter to come home which galvanized the town into a massive search.
Boudreau's lawyer, Pat Atherton, refused to talk about why he made the unusual request to have his client remain in custody in Halifax while he made the brief appearance on her behalf.
Crown prosecutor Paul Scovil said he opposed not having Boudreau in court.
"We simply argued that given the nature of the charge, and the public interest, the presumption of innocence has to be maintained with any accused. That's especially true with cases with a high public profile," Scovil said. "Being here shows she is clearly present for all aspects of her trial."

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, Halifax, LaHave River

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