Family members and supporters of murder victim Makayla Chang and her family had their first chance to see Steven Michael Bacon, who is accused of Chang’s murder, in court in Nanaimo.
Bacon appeared at Nanaimo Courthouse on Monday, Nov. 1, for the first day of a pre-trial preliminary hearing that is expected to continue until Nov. 5.
Chang was 16 at the time of her death in 2017.
Bacon, born in 1964, was being held in a maximum-security prison in North Bay, Ont., after he was arrested in 2019 on unrelated charges. He will be tried in Nanaimo on a charge of first-degree murder.
At a preliminary hearing, the Crown calls witnesses and a judge must determine from evidence presented and witness testimony if there is sufficient evidence upon which a reasonable jury could return a verdict of guilty if the case goes to trial.
A publication ban has been put in place on evidence and witness testimony at the preliminary inquiry, and media was also not allowed into the courtroom Monday because of a lack of seating created by COVID-19 precautions. However, media is allowed to follow the proceedings remotely online.
Notably absent from family members awaiting the start of proceedings Monday was Dolly Chang, Makayla’s grandmother, who died earlier this year, and Makayla’s father Kerry Chang, who was said to be ill.