Judge warns Greg Fertuck court is not ‘playground’ as Saskatoon murder trial resumes

Judge warns Greg Fertuck court is not ‘playground’ as Saskatoon murder trial resumes
Judge warns Greg Fertuck court is not ‘playground’ as Saskatoon murder trial resumes

The trial of Greg Fertuck for first-degree murder has resumed at King’s Bench Court in Saskatoon. The accused will present his defence this week.

Fertuck is accused of killing his wife, Sheree Fertuck, in a gravel pit near Kenaston, Sask., in 2015. Sheree disappeared on Dec. 7, 2015. The 51-year-old’s body has never been found.

Greg was charged with first-degree murder in 2019. He confessed after being targeted in a 10-month undercover police operation called the Mr. Big sting. After his arrest, he said he made up the story because he was afraid of the undercover police.

He is representing himself at trial.

Tuesday’s trial began with Greg’s testimony that he planned to call a weapons expert for cross-examination, but that he “didn’t have enough money” to call expert witnesses.

Greg Fertuck told undercover officers that he had dumped his wife Sheree’s body in a rural area near where he was hunting deer, according to testimony from one of the officers during Fertuck’s first-degree murder trial.

Greg Fertuck told undercover officers that he dumped his wife, Sheree,’s body in a rural area near where he was hunting deer, according to testimony from one of the officers at Fertuck’s first-degree murder trial. (Greg Fertuck/Facebook)

Instead, he questioned previous witnesses, including Darren Sorotski, Sheree’s younger brother who worked with her seasonally in the family gravel business, and Morris Bodnar, his previous attorney.

Greg questioned Sorotski about Greg and Sheree’s relationship, asking if Greg had shown “any animosity toward her” during her and Sorotski’s collaboration.

“I don’t know the answer,” Sorotsky said.

Fertuck questioned Bodnar about the delays in the trial and Mr. Big’s stings.

Judge Richard Danyliuk warned Fertuck several times about the language he used and not to be too commentary during his questions.

“We are not on a playground, this is a very serious matter,” Danyliuk told Fertuck.

Fertuck also questioned Sheree’s neighbor Robert McJannet, who had not previously testified in the trial, about how well he knew Sheree and about the events surrounding her disappearance.

Judge Richard Danyliuk will appear in King’s Bench Court in Saskatoon on February 20, 2023.

Judge Richard Danyliuk begins hearing defense arguments in Greg Fertuck’s first-degree murder trial. (Kyle Martin/Kyle Martin Designs)

Fertuck must decide whether to testify

The court adjourned the hearing shortly after noon CST on Tuesday until 10 a.m. Wednesday

Fertuck told the court he does not want to testify and needs time “to make his case, that’s all.”

Judge Danyliuk asked Fertuck if he was sure and gave him until Wednesday morning to confirm his decision.

The court hopes that Monday, February 26, will be a possible date for hearing the arguments.

“I want to conclude this case as quickly as possible,” Danyliuk said, referring to the delays the process has suffered.

Attorney Carla Dewar said the prosecution is “concerned about keeping this case on track.”

Danyliuk also said a decision will be made Wednesday on whether to require an amicus attorney — a “friend of the court” assigned to help people represent themselves with the proceedings — to assist Fertuck going forward.

A sketch of Greg Fertuck sitting in the King’s Bench courthouse in Saskatoon on February 20, 2023.

The case has faced several delays since Greg Fertuck (pictured in this sketch) was charged in 2019 — due to the pandemic and the fact that Fertuck’s defense team withdrew from his case. (Kyle Martin/Kyle Martin Designs)

Confession admissible as evidence

Danyliuk ruled in September that a videotaped confession Greg made to undercover agents, in which he described killing Sheree, could be admitted as evidence in his trial.

The June 21, 2019, footage shows Greg shooting Sheree.

Greg Fertuck stuck to his story about where he dumped his wife’s body.

Greg Fertuck later said he made up the story about his wife’s murder because he was afraid of the undercover agents who were posing as criminals as part of a Mr. Big operation. (Greg Fertuck/Facebook)

LISTEN | The Pit podcast is back with a new episode, where reporters find out whether the judge in the Fertuck trial will allow evidence gathered in an undercover operation to be released:

Because the prosecution’s case against Fertuck relies on a Mr Big operation, a controversial investigative technique, the prosecution’s evidence was challenged as part of a lengthy voir dire, or trial within a trial.

Danyliuk ruled in September 2023 that all evidence obtained during the sting operation would be admissible at trial, meaning he can consider it when deciding whether Fertuck is guilty.

The single-judge trial began in September 2021 in what was then the Court of Queen’s Bench. The case has suffered numerous delays since then.

Major delays were caused by COVID-19, the discovery of the alleged murder weapon and Fertuck’s decision to represent himself in court after his defense team withdrew from the case in October 2022. Fertuck also filed a motion to have witnesses returned to court for re-examination.