Surrey murder trial delayed

Defence lawyer quits, citing ethical and professional reasons

Surrey's Bradley McPherson was killed at a Christmas Eve party in 2011.

The murder trial of a man accused of shooting a Surrey man to death at a Christmas Eve party in 2011 has been delayed.

The 16-day trial of Russell Bidesi was expected to begin Monday, but in a last-minute application, his defence lawyer Darcy Lawrence said he could no longer continue.

Bidesi is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Bradley McPherson, 28, who was shot at a house party near 131 Street and 67A Avenue.

“I’m making an application to withdraw as counsel,” Lawrence told B.C. Supreme Court Madam Justice Duncan. “This has nothing to do with funding.”

Lawrence also noted it is “not a ploy by Mr. Bidesi,” and apologized to the court, which was packed with McPherson’s family and friends.

It’s believed McPherson witnessed someone being disrespectful at the party, and stepped in.

“And for that, his life was taken,” tearful mom Susan Simning said in 2013, when Bidesi’s arrest was made.

On Monday, Crown Counsel Jay Fogel acknowledged the withdrawal of defence, and noted to Duncan that under law, she had no discretion in preventing defence from leaving.

As long as it wasn’t for financial reasons, he said, the court’s hands are tied.

Duncan also apologized for the delay, and told Bidesi that any future applications for removal of counsel might not be as successful.

A fix date to re-schedule the trial has been set for Sept. 3 in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster.