Incorrect charges delays jury trial
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(JESSICA WALLACE / iNFOnews.ca)
March 11, 2013 - 4:01 PM
By Jessica Wallace
A jury trial for two men stemming from an alleged bar fight was delayed in B.C Supreme Court today after administrative errors by Crown counsel.
Trial by jury for Jean-Claude A. Auger and Brian W. Tweedhope was expected to begin today, however a proposed amendment of the charges postponed it to an unknown date.
"The trial that was supposed to start today must be adjourned," said B.C. Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Ball.
Crown prosecutor Will Burrows told the court today charges against Tweedhope should have been charged to Auger and with greater severity.
Tweedhope faced two counts of aggravated assault and one count of assault while Auger faced two counts of aggravated assault. The charges were in relation to a bar fight outside the Westsyder Pub more than two years ago.
The Crown said today that Auger should be facing Tweedhope's extra assault charge, with the addition of causing bodily harm.
The mix-up threw defence lawyers Chris Thompson and Richard Kaiser for a loop.
"We have a problem," Kaiser said. "Our clients have been arraigned, they've entered their pleas."
Thompson, Auger's lawyer, was concerned over the fairness of the trial.
"This change now causes Mr. Auger a great deal of prejudice," he said. "The only way we can safeguard is to get a new jury."
Burrows argued that the change was insignificant because the trial hasn't yet begun. Ball sided with the Crown.
"The fact that people are charged has nothing to do with any decision about guilt," he said. "Being charged is absolutely something a jury can't take into account."
Ball said he was satisfied with the Crown's ability to mend the charges.
"I'm sympathetic and mindful of the change and position it's put the defence counsel in," he added.
Ball said the jury would be excused and the case would be postponed to a time and date to be discussed by counsel.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013