Lawyer disciplined for actions in 2006 Alberni murder case

A former deputy regional Crown prosecutor who suppressed information in a murder case, which involved the death of a Port Alberni woman in 2006, has agreed not to practise law for the next five years.

Former Nanaimo lawyer David Allen Kidd admitted professional misconduct after a discipline committee of the Law Society reviewed his actions. As punishment, he has undertaken not to apply for reinstatement to the Law Society of B.C. before May 30, 2025.

article continues below

Kidd, a Crown prosecutor since 1991, retired last year during an investigation into his conduct in the R. v. Darling case.

On Aug. 20, 2006, Kristy Morrey, 28, was murdered in her Port Alberni home. More than nine years later, her former boyfriend, Larry Darling, was charged with first-degree murder after an undercover operation by the RCMP.

The trial was to begin in January 2018 in B.C. Supreme Court in Port Alberni. Six months later, charges were stayed against Darling.

An agreed statement of facts released by the Law Society revealed that voir dires — in-trial hearings — were held in August 2017 to address the admissibility of statements made by Darling.

In October of that year, when the trial prosecutor went on an emergency medical leave, Kidd went to court and successfully sought an adjournment of the trial.

One month later, Crown prosecutor David Fitzsimmons took over the case.

In December 2017 or January 2018, Kidd met with Morrey’s aunt, Mary Tilley, at the Port Alberni courthouse. Tilley had found handwritten documents belonging to Morrey and told Kidd that Morrey had written a letter about her relationship with Darling. She tried to give Kidd the documents, but he didn’t take them.

During an interview with the Law Society on Nov. 23, 2018, Kidd recalled telling Tilley that if he took the package — “some sort of journal or book, or a notepad” — he was obliged to give it to the defence.

Kidd said when he asked Tilley what the document was, she told him it was an entry written by Morrey about how she’d made improvements in her life and how she thought that made Darling jealous.

Kidd told her he didn’t think that was relevant and Tilley left, taking the documents with her.

In an interview, Tilley told the Law Society that she had found a letter written by Morrey in June 2006 and put it in an envelope with David Kidd’s name on it. She brought it to Kidd, but he didn’t want to see it, she said. “He said there’s so much disclosure going on right now … I don’t want to deal with it. You know it’s just gonna fuel the fire.”

On Feb. 20, 2018, Kidd and Fitzsimmons met with Tilley and others at the Port Alberni Courthouse and discussed the trial.

Kidd said Tilley brought the documents to the meeting, but he told her “not now.”

Kidd had not told Fitzsimmons about Morrey’s documents. In April, when Fitzsimmons met with Tilley, she told him about their existence. He asked the RCMP to recover them and told the defence about the documents.

However, Tilley couldn’t find them and thought she might have burned them.

On June 13, 2018, the Crown directed a stay of proceedings in the case. The next month, the Public Service Alliance began a review of the prosecution.

The stay of proceedings was the result of a number of issues with the prosecution, not limited to Kidd’s conduct, the review found.

Kidd has admitted that between December 2017 and May 2018, he failed to discharge his responsibilities honourably and with integrity by suppressing and failing to disclose the documents to the accused, by failing to inform the prosecutors in a timely manner and by failing to tell police about the documents to make sure they were preserved.

If Kidd wants to apply for reinstatement after May 30, 2025, he will have to satisfy the Law Society’s credentials committee that he is of sufficiently good character and repute to practise law in B.C.

Read Related Topics

© Copyright Times Colonist

Find out what's happening in your community.

Most Popular