August 01, 2013 - 11:40 AM
KELOWNA – A confession to a 2012 arson on Large Avenue was judged to be fair game as evidence in the trial for Brandon Seberras-Pick.
The accused is facing three charges in connection with a house fire, car fire and break and enter in a Black Mountain neighbourhood on Feb. 2, 2012.
Seberras-Pick, then 18 years old, allegedly confessed to the crime while being interviewed by police. A transcript of the conversation shows the accused repeatedly refused to talk, requesting legal counsel, then eventually describing how he lit the deck of the residence on fire with a lighter and walked away.
In the statement he also told police he took mushrooms and was drinking that night prior to the offences.
Seberras-Pick is pleading not-guilty to the offences and elected a trial by provincial court judge.
Defence lawyer David Johnson appeared with the accused at Kelowna Provincial Court yesterday to hear the judge's decision on whether or not the confession could be used as evidence in the trial. The statement given to police was induced, Johnson argued, and therefore not reliable or voluntary - breaching the accused's Charter Rights.
A voir dire— a trial within a trial—was requested by the defence to disqualify the statement as evidence.
However, Judge Jane Cartwright decided yesterday the confession will be admitted, ruling the accused was treated fairly by police who did not breach his rights. Cartwright said she's satisfied Seberras-Pick “readily” gave his statement.
“I see no evidence of any inducement,” Cartwright said. “The officers' questions weren't oppressive in the least.”
A total of $200,000 of damages resulted from the house fire on Large Avenue. A family of four was asleep in the home when they woke to the sound of balloons popping, alerting them to the flames at around two in the morning.
Earlier that night another homeowner reported a break and enter on Feedham Avenue, describing the suspect as having an afro-style haircut and a black and white hoodie. Matching that description police apprehended Seberras-Pick, who was not wearing pants and carrying a bag of food and a waffle iron.
Witnesses including RCMP officers at the scene and members of the fire department who investigated the arson will testify in the trial.
To contact the reporter for this story, email Julie Whittet at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (250)718-0428.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013