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Preliminary inquiry in Christopher Skinner case set for August

Timing could mean trial will be held next summer

Toronto gay man Christopher Skinner was killed in October 2009. Credit: Xtra file photo

The murder trial in the 2009 death of Christopher Skinner is likely to take place some time in 2015.

Agustin Caruso, who faces a second-degree murder charge, appeared briefly in Toronto’s College Park courthouse on April 16 as a preliminary inquiry was scheduled for August.

Skinner was killed in October 2009. The 27-year-old left his sister’s birthday party around 3am on a Sunday in the Entertainment District. He was walking along Adelaide Street near Victoria Street when he approached and likely touched a black SUV.

Police believe some people inside the SUV beat Skinner before running him over. Skinner died on the scene. Hundreds attended an outdoor vigil on Church Street a week after his death.

Shortly after his death, Skinner’s friends speculated that his sexuality might have been a motive for the attack. However, the lead detective said at the time the case was not being investigated as a hate crime.

Four years after Skinner’s death, on Nov 6, 2013, Caruso was charged with second-degree murder, while three others were charged a week later. Caruso was denied bail. After two brief appearances, the court agreed on April 16 to a preliminary inquiry starting Aug 11, with an estimated length of two weeks.

A preliminary inquiry is an in-court hearing at which the Crown presents its evidence against the accused, often including witness statements. A judge decides whether there is sufficient evidence for a trial, which, if there is, is then scheduled.

Recent homicide cases at the Ontario Superior Court have been scheduled roughly 10 months in advance, meaning Caruso’s trial might start in the summer of 2015.