An elegant ballroom will serve as a courtroom as jury selection begins for the trial of two police officers accused of abandoning an First Nations man on the outskirts of the city in freezing weather last year. Dan Hatchen and Ken Munson, both veteran Saskatoon police officers, are charged with assault and unlawful confinement.

“We don’t want to have a situation where we’re excluding anybody from access to the court, the public or the press,” Sheriff Gordon Laing said. The regular Saskatoon courthouse isn’t large enough for all the prospective jurors and spectators.

The two officers were charged after Darrell Night alleged two officers apprehended him without cause then later forced him out of their cruiser near the Queen Elizabeth power station on Jan. 28, 2000. Temperatures were a chilling -25 C when the incident was said to have occured.

Over 700 notices were mailed out to potential jurors. That number was whittled down to about 125 from which the jury will be chosen.