Crown prosecutors are stopping a high-profile trial and moving forward with direct indictments for men accused of trafficking cocaine-laced fentanyl.

Shervin Beeharry, Japmanjot Grewal and Azim Kabani are facing drug trafficking and manslaughter charges following four overdose deaths in March 2018.

"I'm disappointed for my client who was expecting a ruling, and will be getting dates set at a pre-trial at the same time where we were expecting to be finished the trial," said defence lawyer Brian Pfefferle, representing Beeharry.

"It’s a huge waste of system resources, a waste of the judge’s time, our time … it’s brutal."

The men’s drug trafficking trial began months ago at Saskatoon Provincial Court and was scheduled to resume this week. It ended when the Crown decided to move forward with direct indictments – a process which sends the case straight to a new trial at Court of Queen’s Bench.

The Crown is leaving behind all provincial court weapon charges in favour of direct indictments for manslaughter and drug trafficking,

Eleanor Funk, a Calgary-based defence lawyer representing Grewal, said there has been no justification for the Crown’s move.

"The trial has essentially been ripped out from under us and we’re starting all over at the Court of Queen’s Bench. I’m disappointed and my client is extremely disappointed that he remains in custody for the foreseeable future – only to start all over again," Funk told reporters outside court on Wednesday morning.

However, federal prosecutor Wade McBride said it’s important to start a new trial to have all three men tried together.

"It’s an unusual step, but not beyond what we would sometimes do in unusual cases," McBride said.

"It simplifies the process and streamlines the process in terms of getting into one court. That’s one of the rationales for moving the matter to the Court of Queen’s Bench."

The logistics for the drug-trafficking and manslaughter cases are scheduled to be discussed on Sept. 9.