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'Must've been a mistake': Accused Sask. killer Greg Fertuck says he didn’t mean to apply for a mistrial

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A man on trial for murder said he mistakenly applied for a mistrial.

Greg Fertuck is charged with first-degree murder in the death of his estranged wife, Sheree Fertuck.

The 51-year-old woman went missing in 2015. The Crown believes Fertuck shot Sheree at a gravel pit near Kenaston, Sask. Her body has never been found.

Just days before the verdict, Fertuck asked to restart the trial and have a new firearms expert testify.

Justice Richard Danyliuk expressed some frustration in a fiat released to media last week, when he disclosed that Fertuck had asked to address the court about his last-minute applications 11 days before the verdict.

Danyliuk wrote that he rearranged his entire schedule for the week in order to accommodate the requests.

On Monday, Fertuck said he "didn't really want a mistrial."

"I just wanted to see if I could bring in an expert in firearms from Saskatoon Police Service," Fertuck told the judge.

Fertuck said he saw an article in the newspaper about a gun laboratory opening at the Saskatoon police station.

Fertuck wants the gun the Crown alleges he used to kill Sheree to be tested in the newly-opened lab.

Justice Richard Danyliuk asked Fertuck why taxpayer-funded resources should be used for him. The judge questioned why Fertuck couldn't hire his own gun expert.

Fertuck said the gun expert required a $20,000 deposit — which he doesn't have. Danyliuk said based on evidence, Fertuck should have about $350,000 in his pension.

"You haven't explained why you didn't use 20,000 of those dollars to finance your defence," Danyliuk said.

"It's because I've been sitting in remand for the last five years, I haven't had a chance to check with my bank. All I'm relying on, is what my sister told me ... she says, 'You haven't got $20,000 in your account,'' Fertuck responded.

Danyliuk fired back.

"You didn't have a chance to check your own finances? What in the world do they have you busy with on remand, that you couldn't make a telephone inquiry," Danyliuk asked, evoking giggles from the gallery.

Danyliuk asked Fertuck to explain the reason for applying for a mistrial.

"Well, that must've been a mistake on my part because I didn't really want a mistrial. I just wanted to see if it would help with the final verdict, if it was proven that gun never fired those shells," Fertuck said, referring to gun casings found at the gravel pit.

Crown prosecutor Cory Bliss opposed Fertuck's request to reopen the case and submit new evidence.

"He's essentially, as the Crown sees it, asking for something that's really unknown," Bliss said.

"The public expects finality."

Blaine Beaven, the lawyer for the Saskatchewan Firearms Office, stood up in court.

He said private testing can't be done at the provincial lab, it's exclusively used by police.

"I guess I'll just withdraw that application, if I can. I wasn't aware of all of that," Fertuck said.

"I'm going to give you a ruling on this. I believe that's the correct thing to do," Danyliuk replied.

The judge said he will make a decision on Fertuck's requests for further gun testing and a mistrial — both requests which Fertuck ended up withdrawing — within 48 hours.

--With files from Rory MacLean.

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