The accused man who failed to show up for a verdict last week on a case surrounding the death of his stepson 13 years ago has been deemed an absconder.
The outcome, reached Tuesday by B.C. Supreme Court Justice Glen Parrett, means he'll deliver his decision later this week even if Lloyd William Cook, 54, is not in the courtroom. This Friday has been tentatively set as the date.
Cook was a no show last Thursday when Parrett was originally scheduled to issue his reasons for judgment. His lawyer, Stephen Taylor, said he received a text message from Cook slightly more than a half hour before he was to appear at the Prince George courthouse saying his truck had broke down in Williams Lake.
A warrant for Cook's arrest was issued but his whereabouts continue to remain unknown. Taylor told the court Tuesday he was briefly in contact with Cook to tell him the warrant had been issued but has not heard from him since.
Taylor also said Cook could have found a way to turn himself into RCMP by now and did not oppose Crown prosecutor Lara Vizsolyi's request to invoke a section of the Criminal Code allowing a verdict to be delivered in the accused's absence.
Vizsolyi said Williams Lake RCMP had been in contact with Cook during the early morning hours Thursday but that was before the warrant was issued.
Once it was received, RCMP in the community 236 kilometres south of Prince George, went back to the scene and checked local motels and hotels, while RCMP in Prince George and Oliver, where Cook is believed to be living, were also alerted but "so far no Mr. Cook," Vizsolyi said.
Cook had been out on bail for most of the time since he was first charged in 2009 with four counts - the most serious being manslaughter - in the January 2000 death of 13-year-old Adam Scott Wiliams-Dudoward.
Parrett said that as a "result of the ambiguity" he was not prepared last Thursday to conclude that Cook had absconded.
"The situation is different today in my respectful view," Parrett said Tuesday. "It's different today because there has been no apparent contact despite his missing his obligation to have been here Thursday morning."
In reaching his decision, Parrett said the fact of Cook's ongoing absence does not stand alone.
"The failure to report the death of Adam Scott Dudoward, the silence and the efforts to hide out for a period of four years until October of 2004 all represent a past history that leads me to conclude, as I do, that he has voluntarily chosen to absent himself from this trial for the purpose of avoiding the consequences," Parrett said.
Cook also faces charges of criminal negligence causing death, unlawful confinement and interference with a dead body.