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Millard not to seek bail, as police continue to search farm

Police execute a search warrant at a farm property owned by Dellen Millard in North Dumfries, Ontario, Monday, September 9, 2013.

Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail

Dellen Millard has no plans to seek bail as he awaits his murder trial, in part for "tactical reasons," according to his lawyer.

Mr. Millard is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Tim Bosma, a 32-year-old father who was killed in May after taking two men to test drive his pickup truck. Mr. Millard's rural Ontario farm is currently being scoured for clues into the disappearance of one of his friends, Laura Babcock, who went missing in July, 2012.

His lawyer, Deepak Paradkar would not go into detail about the decision against seeking bail, but said trying to achieve release is a "very, very onerous task" in first-degree murder cases.

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"There are a lot of tactical reasons why one might not go for bail, because at a bail hearing, [the Crown] might get to present a case which might affect a lot of things," he said, adding that the choice was also influenced by "privileged conversations" and publicity surrounding the case.

Mr. Millard, 28, and his co-accused, 26-year-old Mark Smich, are slated to appear in court on Thursday. Mr. Paradkar said he hopes to set target dates for a preliminary hearing, which he guessed could happen next summer. "[Mr. Millard] is holding up as best as one can in jail," he said.

Mr. Paradkar said Toronto police have not interviewed Mr. Millard about Ms. Babcock's disappearance.

He said he did not know why Toronto police launched their second search of Mr. Millard's farm near Kitchener, Ont., on Monday, or why they waited until Tuesday to notify Mr. Millard's mother, Madeleine Burns. Toronto police spokesperson Constable Victor Kwong said the search, which was prompted by "further information," would continue for the next couple of days.

Ms. Babcock's mother said she and her husband are on edge, but remaining positive. "We're optimistic and we just hope this has nothing to do with her," Linda Babcock said.

In mid-May, Hamilton police searching the farm seized a portable livestock incinerator that was delivered around July, 2012, in their investigation into Mr. Bosma's murder. Later in May, Toronto police searched the farm in relation to both Ms. Babcock – who phoned Mr. Millard several times before she disappeared – and Mr. Millard's father, whose Nov. 29 death had been deemed a suicide.

Mr. Paradkar said that, since late May, trespassers had punched a hole in a wall of the barn on the property and defaced it with graffiti – raising questions of "how relevant" anything found there might be.

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When asked if police have such concerns, Constable Kwong said it depends on what investigators are seeking now. "Certain things won't ever go away," he said.

Waterloo Regional Police said it does not have a record of a vandalism complaint at Mr. Millard's address. "If it did occur, it wasn't reported to police," spokesman Olaf Heinzel said.

Mr. Paradkar said Mr. Millard still hopes to build his dream home at the property.

A man who answered the phone at the office of Mr. Smich's lawyer, Thomas Dungey, declined to comment. Mr. Dungey did not respond to an e-mail by late Tuesday.

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