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Alleged Vernon arsonist ordered to stand trial on rash of fires from 2014

William Munton allegedly set 19 fires in the summer of 2014.
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June 21, 2017 - 6:30 PM

VERNON - A former school teacher in the North Okanagan-Shuswap School District has been ordered to stand trial in Supreme Court over an alleged arson spree in the summer of 2014.

William Murray Phelps Munton, 55, faces 19 counts of arson, including the Kin Race Track fire in July of 2014.

Following a preliminary inquiry in Vernon Provincial Court this week, Munton was ordered to stand trial on the charges, according to the court registry. He will be tried by judge and jury.

Munton is accused of setting the 19 fires between the dates of May 3, 2014 and Nov. 20, 2014, according to court documents. The targets included vacant buildings, dumpsters, boats, vehicles, motorhomes and abandoned sheds. Munton is also accused of setting fire to fruit boxes on July 21, 2014. Roughly 1,200 to 1,500 B.C. Tree Fruit boxes were destroyed that day at an estimated value of $100,000.

Munton, who used to teach at Salmon Arm Secondary School but was terminated with cause by the district in 2005, also faces three counts of child pornography. The charges include two counts of making or publishing child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography stemming from 2011 and 2015.

According to the B.C. Teacher Regulation Branch, Munton’s teaching certificate was suspended Aug. 11, 2016 pending an inquiry into his conduct. While his certificate is still technically valid, he is not authorized to practice.

Munton is scheduled to stand trial on the child pornography charges Sept. 25.

No date has been set for his Supreme Court trial into the arsons. He is next due in court July 10 to fix a date.

None of the allegations have been proven in court.


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