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Alleged Kelowna bank robber asks for trial delay after lawyer quits

RCMP say Tayler Verhaegen robbed a bank in Kelowna in 2014 then threatened a witness before and after he testified.
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January 16, 2017 - 8:00 PM

KELOWNA – Police say he robbed a Kelowna bank, a judge says he needs to get a lawyer, but Tayler Verhaegen says what he needs is time.

Verhaegen is charged with a daytime robbery of a Kelowna Bank of Montreal two days before Christmas in 2014.

He has been in custody since October when he breached conditions of his release by contacting and threatening a witness in his robbery case.

Verhaegen’s then-defense lawyer Michael Stephenson said he lacked understanding of the repercussions of his crimes and asked for a three-month sentence but when asked to address the court, Verhaegen, dressed in a colourful sport coat he brought with him to prison, said he had never been diagnosed with any mental disorders.

He was sentenced then to nine months in jail for obstruction of justice.

On Monday, Jan. 16 Verhaegen appeared in Kelowna Supreme Court to fix a date for the start of his robbery trial but announced his previous lawyer had dropped him as a client and asked for three weeks to secure financial aid and hire a new lawyer.

"I'm in confinement now," he told the judge via video. "Most of my time is spent locked up and I don't have time to call people. I’m trying to deal with the system."

Verhaegen, who has elected trial by jury, was given one week to find a lawyer.


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