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Millard, Smich proceeding directly to trial in Tim Bosma death

File photo of Tim Bosma.

Two men charged in the death of a Hamilton man, who disappeared after taking a pair of prospective buyers on a test drive, are headed straight to trial on first-degree murder charges.

Dellen Millard and Mark Smich are accused of killing Tim Bosma, whose remains were found about a week after he vanished on May 6, 2013, burned beyond recognition at a southwestern Ontario farm belonging to Millard.

Ravin Pillay, one of Millard’s lawyers, says that the Crown is proceeding by direct indictment in the case, a rare move that means there will be no preliminary inquiry.

Preliminary hearings are held to test evidence and determine whether there is enough to commit the case to trial.

Millard and Smich are also charged in Toronto with first-degree murder in the death of Laura Babcock, with whom Millard was romantically linked, and Millard is also charged with first-degree murder in the death of his father.

Pillay wouldn’t say if the direct indictment in the Bosma case affects the Toronto cases.

The defence feels the direct indictment is unfortunate because without a preliminary hearing they can’t cross-examine witnesses or set up issues to be fought at trial.

“It’s a significant departure from the normal process,” Pillay said. “It’s unusual. It’s extraordinary…It’s a very important procedural step in a criminal case and in almost all serious criminal charges the accused are afforded the benefit of a preliminary hearing.”

Millard is also charged with forcible confinement and theft of a vehicle in Bosma’s death.

Police believe Bosma, 32, was killed the same night he went missing, but haven’t said where it happened.